Arriving at the airport from Delhi, the exiled Bangladeshi writer proceeded to Mumbai on police advice
Following protests against her by the local leaders and workers of the All-India Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), the exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin was forced to abort her planned visit to the heritage Ajanta and Ellora Caves.
Curiously, the AIMIM seems better informed than the Aurangabad police about Taslima’s movements. Around 6 p.m. on Saturday evening a large number of protesters assembled outside a five-star hotel where Taslima was to stay in Aurangabad en route to the caves. That’s when the police first came to know that Taslima was due to arrive in the city. Meanwhile, a second contingent of protesters assembled outside the airport, shouting anti-Taslima slogans.
The Delhi-Mumbai Air India flight via Aurangabad in which the writer was travelling landed at Aurangabad airport at 7.30 p.m. While the flight was in transit, the police spoke to Taslima inside the airport to apprise her of the situation. Having done so, the writer reportedly was offered security cover if she wished to continue with her travel plans. Alternatively, the police offered to find her a seat for her forward journey to Mumbai in the same aircraft which had brought her to Aurangabad.
Taslima “readily agreed” to abort her planned visit and proceed to Mumbai, the police told the Indian Express. She was put back on the Air India flight which took off from Aurangabad for Mumbai at 8.30 p.m.
It may be recalled that Taslima was attacked at a book launch function in Hyderabad in August 2007 by a group of MIM workers led by three of the party’s MLAs. The party had subsequently defended the hooliganism and had warned of serious consequences if she dared enter Hyderabad again.
The situation in Aurangabad has already been tense in recent days on account of demolition of illegal religious structures.
“Police personnel have been deployed in large numbers. If Taslima visited the city at such a time, a major law and order problem would have broken out. Therefore, I spoke to senior officials from police and the administration and asked them to stop Nasrin from entering the city,” the MIM MLA from Aurangabad, Imtiaz Jaleel, told The Indian Express.
“If she had been allowed to reach her hotel, protesters would have greeted her with eggs and tomatoes. While we are all for freedom of speech and expression, she writes against the Prophet and Islam. Youths cannot stand her and as a responsible legislator, I ensured she is sent back,” Jaleel added.