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Idris Ali arrested

Kolkata, November 24
The president of All India Minority Forum Idris Ali, alleged to be behind the large-scale violence during a strike here to press for revocation of visa for controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, was arrested today on the charge of rioting.

Ali was charged with rioting, causing injury to the police and public and damaging public property, deputy commissioner of police (detective department) Vishal Garg said here.

The forum chairman was arrested by detective department sleuths near his residence on Ripon Lane in central Kolkata, the epicentre of Wednesday’s violence during the three-hour shutdown called by the organisation. — PTI

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Row over Taslima’s departure from Kolkata
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, November 24
The controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who had left Kolkata on Thursday evening “suddenly and secretly” for Jaipur, is now in New Delhi in a Rajasthan government’s bungalow as an official guest of the BJP Chief Minister Vasundhra Raje Scindia. She had already undergone an ordeal during the past two days of her journey from Kolkata to Jaipur and then to New Delhi.

Taslima told her friends in Kolkata, who are close to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, that she was now totally shattered and upset but feeling safe. Still she would prefer to be back to Kolkata. Renown Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyya, who is close to Bhattacharjee, said he wanted Taslima to be back in the city. Veteran film director Shyam Benegal also want Taslima to be back and Bhattacharjee to arrange her safe living in Kolkata.

The writer-chief minister is at present touring north Bengal. But his senior colleague Subhas Chakraborty, sports minister, welcomed her back. She had been assured of “asylum” in the minister’s Salt Lake residence.

State home secretary Prasad Ranjan Roy also said Taslima could return to the city if she wished and would be well-protected. He said he had no knowledge why she had left the city suddenly.

The controversy arose over Taslima’s departure from Kolkata on Thursday and arrival at a private hotel at Jaipur.

It is still a mystery why and how Taslima had suddenly flown to Jaipur from Kolkata and reached a BJP-ruled city without escort.

Enquiries have revealed that Sandip Bhuturia, a Rajasthani businessman, who is close to Biman Bose and several high-ups at the Writers Buildings as well as Lalbazar, arranged Taslima’s air ticket and booking in the hotel at Jaipur. He has admitted the same. But he denied there was any request from either Bose or anyone in this connection. On the contrary, he claimed Taslima herself called him up and requested to arrange her shifting to some other “safe place”.

DC (special branch) Bennit Goel, who is also DC (HQ), admitted he had conveyed to Taslima that her staying in Kolkata was not safe since she was a target of the SIMI and the ISI. Goel refused to answer if there was any instruction to this effect either from the Chief Minister or the chief secretary or any other person.

Taslima had to leave her motherland in mid-eighties in the face of threats to her life by the fanatics in Bangladesh for her sacrilegious writing against the Quran and Islam. She was forced to leave Dhaka and escape to Sweden. She lived in London, Kolkata and several other cities in Europe. Thereafter, she obtained the UN passport and travelled from one place to another in search of a “new home”.

But finally, she chose Kolkata to settle down and applied for citizenship. But Taslima’s citizenship could not be granted due to legal obstacles. However, she had been frequently granted tourist visas on which she often visited Kolkata, where she was finding her writer-friends, well-wishers and numerous readers.

After Wednesday’s violence in Kolkata over Nandigram as well as the Taslima visa extension issues , the CPM party secretary Biman Bose demanded that she should leave the city since her presence had become a problem for West Bengal. The following day, the Assembly speaker Hashim Abdul Halim also made the same demand. 
On Thursday, police chief G.Chakraborty invited six important Imams of the city to a meeting at Lalbazar and sought their co-operation for maintaining peace and harmony in Kolkata. They all responded positively but made it clear that they wanted Taslima to leave Kolkata immediately.

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Taslima may be handed over to Centre

New Delhi, November 24
Taslima Nasreen, confined in a Rajasthan government guest house here, is likely to be handed over to the Centre tomorrow.

Nasreen, who was bundled out of Kolkata to Jaipur two days back before being brought to Delhi last night, is to be handed over to officials of the union home ministry, Rajasthan government officials said here today.

She was virtually hounded out of Kolkata in the wake of large scale violence and arson by Muslim outfits in the metropolis demanding her visa for staying in India be revoked. — PTI

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