Afghanistan, Pakistan & Bangladesh Bangladesh India

Defending Taslima Campaign

• After years of wandering and suffering hatred and rage of fanatics who never forgive a woman for being free and for saying so, Taslima Nasrin, a Bengali writer, found refuge in India and simultaneously rediscovered the pleasure of living in a country where she could be read in her language. Despite the fact that tens of thousands of enraged people called for her head and burned her effigies, our Free and Secular country protected her against death and intimidation and this bounteous gesture was expected from our country being the champion of Human Rights and protector of freedom of thought and expression. The Indian visa given to Taslima is going to expire on the 17th of August, and the highest authorities have apparently taken the decision not to extend the same under the pressure from religious fanatics. This apprehension, if correct, boils down to vindicating the religious fanatics and punishing Taslima by depriving her of the right to live in this country, that she loves and that she chose as her Karmabhoomi. The demand of fanatics, if accepted, would give a terribly wrong signal to those individuals and institutions that genuinely believe in the democratic values and stand for freedom of thought and expression and it would simultaneously encourage religious fanatics who are the biggest threat to the democratic fabric of this country. Our country, the land of Mahatama Gandhi, knows better than anyone the importance of defending those who dare to disobey peacefully. Taslima is among these disobedients. She represents a hope for all those who dream of peacefully liberating themselves from traditions and beliefs that keep women in a form of segregation. We stand to defend that hope.

• We the members of Human Rights Defense ( India ) support the cause of Taslima and call upon all right thinking persons to call upon Government of India not to cede to the blackmail and violence of fanatics and extremists and most respectfully request the Hon. Prime Minister not to punish Taslima on account of their intolerance.

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