The strange case of Taslima Nasreen
She has been rewarded with a ban on her books, a fatwa calling for her death, and a jail term for writing derogatory things about Islam. Irate Muslims have burnt her effigies both in Dhaka, her hometown in Bangladesh and in Kolkata, her ‘second home’, where she wants to reside.
She has now written to the Indian home minister, asking for citizenship or a residency permit, whichever is possible. But she says, she is not seeking political asylum.
India must remain open to victims of cultural illiberalism and persecution — but it must also be clear about the line between political asylum and mere immigration. Taslima Nasreen has every reason to fear for her life, liberty and well-being in Bangladesh — there is little to refuse her asylum on these grounds. But if she does not intend to seek asylum then she must not be treated any differently from any other person seeking Indian citizenship or residency.