Stockholm: Taslima Nasreen, the controversial writer from Bangladesh, has been cared for in a Swedish clinic since her highly hush-hush arrival in this country from India, and evidently plans to stay there for some time.
Taslima is being held virtually incommunicado by the Swedish authorities, under the care of the Swedish Pen Club, which has been her protector ever since her troubles with the Islamic authorities in Bangladesh first drove her to Sweden in the early 1990s.
Maria Modig, vice-chairperson of the Svenska Pen (Swedish Pen Club) and chairperson of their internationally powerful FĂ¤nsgslade FĂ¶rfatteres KommittĂ© (the imprisoned authors' committee), breaking silence for the first time since Nasreen's arrival in Sweden, told IANS: "Taslima Nasreen, considering all the dire circumstances she has been compelled to go through, is well and resting.”
"Upon her arrival, Taslima was taken to a clinic and she has been under expert medical care throughout. She will be thus attended to until she fully recovers her health. That is all she wishes for at the present," said Modig.
Cecilia WikstrĂ¶m, Member of Parliament (Riksdag) for the Swedish Folk Partiet (Peoples' Party) and vice-chairperson of the Swedish parliamentary committee for culture, who "has the official responsibility for Nasreen" also told IANS in the same vein: "So far we have maintained that Taslima Nasreen is somewhere in Europe. However, I will now admit that she is, indeed, in Sweden, and has been for some days.”
"She has been well attended to by medical experts and the care continues constantly until she completely recovers from her various ailments," explained WikstrĂ¶m and added: "Although I cannot go into details of her health (condition), I can certainly say that Taslima (is) fine, relaxed and really trying to recover her health."
IANS spoke to an unnamed attendant looking after Taslima. When she (the attendant) asked the patient whether she wished to make any statement to the press, the intrepid writer replied quite audibly: "Just that I am fine...I feel fine...and, I am really enjoying myself".
Besides the attendant's mobile telephone number no other information about the clinic was provided. However, IANS has learnt from reliable sources that it is a very renowned Swedish detoxification centre where top politicians and celebrities are set back afoot.
According to Maria Modig: "Nasreen has no plans to meet with the press or hold any public event, neither at present nor in (the) foreseeable future."
Nor has any of the Swedish media shown much interest in the case. Except for a brief notice carried by Dagens Nyheter (DN), on Thursday, the day after Nasreen's arrival here, there has seen total silence in the Swedish print, air and electronic media.
DN's journalist, Fredrik SĂ¶derling, speaking said: "I wonder what and who could have muzzled our entire press...."
About Taslima's plans and official formalities, Modig said conclusively: "What plans, what formalities? Taslima is a Swedish citizen and has been so for more than a decade now. She is a Swede and has come home."
Alluding to her religious and political difficulties in Bangladesh and India, WikstrĂ¶m said: "Taslima Nasreen may or may not have difficulties, and problems for her safety, in other countries that make it difficult for her to live there. But certainly not in Sweden.”
"Here, she will always have all the necessary protection she needs. Just like she has had before and just like others like her have always received and continue to do so," WikstrĂ¶m added categorically.