Government has extended by one year the visa for controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen who has also moved for permanent residency in India.

The extension of visa came a day before its expiry, relieving the writer of tension about her future stay in India, her “adopted” home since leaving Bangladesh in 1994 in the face of death threats from fundamentalist groups against her alleged blasphemous writings.

“I’m grateful to the Indian Government that my visa has been extended,” Ms. Nasreen told PTI on Tuesday night and expressed the hope that the government would grant her permanent residence permit for which she has moved a fresh application.

“I got the visa extension stamped on my passport today and it has come as a relief after days of tension since my return to India”, the writer said.

Ms. Nasreen said she was happy that unlike in the past she has not been verbally told this time to go abroad again after her visa extension and that is why she has decided to stay put in this country.

“It’s good that I don’t have to roam in the West as a vagabond. After all, I have adopted India as my country and I have nowhere else to go. India is my place of work”, she said.

The author said Indian government has always told her that it grants “shelter to anyone seeking shelter” and expressed the hope that she would get permanent residence in the same spirit.

“If India doesn’t grant me permanent residence, where else do I go? Should I again be going abroad and move around like a vagabond?” Ms. Nasreen asked.

However, she said “the bad news” is that she has got a letter from the Union Home Ministry that this was the last time she was given the visa extension.

“If that is the case, I fervently hope I get permanent residencey. After no less a person than Pranab Mukherjee had assured that India would give me shelter”, Taslima said. PTI PAL SKL PAL 02162221

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