India-based controversial author Taslima Nasreen, who fled Bangladesh in the early 1990s alleging persecution, has criticized the Sheikh Hasina government for giving shelter to Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar.
In an interview with the Arnab Goswami-helmed Republic TV, Nasreen claimed that “Muslim fanatics” in Bangladesh were “happy” about Ronhinyas taking refuge in the country.
Nasreen, who fled Bangladesh in 1994 after “receiving death threats” for her anti-Islamic books, said “many people in Bangladesh didn’t want them ( Rohingyas) to come to Bangladesh because those Rohingyas are drug smugglers and also they are committing crimes in Bangladesh.”
“I am glad that Bangladesh has sheltered 400,000 Rohingya refugees and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited them and cried for them . But I ask if those persecuted people were Hindus, Buddhists, Christians or Jewish, would Bangladesh have sheltered them? I don’t think so. I think some Muslim fanatics in Bangladesh wanted Rohingya Muslims to be sheltered in Bangladesh. So the Prime Minister decided to shelter them. May be she thought of votes,” she said.
She also backed the Indian government’s argument in the Supreme Court that the 40,000 Ronhingya refugees in India posed a threat to the country’s security and should be deported.
“Those Rohingya Muslims could join terrorist organisations in Bangladesh . Jamaat-e-Islami and other Islamic organisations are very happy that Rohingyas are now in Bangladesh because it would be easy for them to radicalize(Rohingyas) . Already many Rohingya Muslims have joined terrorist organisations,” Nasreen said when asked if she thought Rohingya refugees could be radicalized and pose a security risk to countries hosting them.
Earlier, in a series of tweets, Nasreen alleged that the Bangladesh government’s concern for Rohingyas was just vote-bank politics.
“Bangladesh offered land to shelter Rohingya. What if these people were Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Jews but not Muslims? Shelter not for humanity but for votes!” Nasreen said in one of the tweets.
In another tweet, she asked “Where should d we dump Rohingyas? If they’re not here, they’ll be somewhere. Neighbours can be security threat. No way to educate them to become better?”
Nasreen, who holds Swiss citizenship, has been getting Indian visa on a continuous basis since 2004.
She has also stayed in the US and Europe during the last two decades. However, on many occasions she has expressed her wish to live in India permanently.
Published in 1993, Nasreen’s controversial novel ‘Lajja’ was banned by the Bangladeshi government along with her other books for hurting religious sentiments of Muslims. Islamic groups in Bangladesh have accused her of blasphemy and issued fatwas against her.