There is no hint of fear in her eyes as feminist writer Taslima Nasreen tells Mail Today that Bangladeshi terror group Ansarullah Bangla Team is plotting to cross over to India and then travel to the Capital to kill her.
The group takes its ideology from Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Yemen-based al-Qaeda activist, and has been involved in the murders of America-based writer Avijit Roy and blogger Washiqur Rahman last month for “criticising Islam”.
Taslima, if Indian intelligence agencies are to be believed, may very well be their next target.
“Members of the Ansarullah Bangla Team are so brazen that they post online hate messages before they attack,” says Taslima.
“They had done that before killing Avijit and Washiqur and now they are posting hate messages targeting me. It is scary. But as long as I live, I will not be silenced.”
Intelligence agencies suspect sleeper cells of Bangaldeshi jehadist groups are already active in India.
“The radical Islamists in Bangladesh are definitely after Taslima. She has been on their radar for a while now. There is a renewed threat perception after the murder of bloggers in Bangladesh.
“The Burdwan blast conspiracy is a case in point that extremist groups like Jamaat-ul- Mujahideen Bangladesh have made India a safe haven,” an intelligence officer told Mail Today.
One of the reasons why Washiqur was attacked was for wishing Taslima on her birthday. On his Facebook page, Rahman also reposted a cartoon depicting Prophet Mohammed from French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo.
And he ‘liked’ a picture of sausages wrapped in crescent rolls that someone had captioned: “Pigs in burqas”.
Posts threatening him were instant and numerous.
“Get ready for the afterlife,” one person commented on one of his posts. “See you in hell,” said another.
“Washiqur’s murderers are madrasa students.
They were brainwashed by the Ansarullah Bangla Team. They were ordered by their madrasa teacher to kill Washiqur,” says 52- year-old Taslima
“Madrasas and mosques are breeding ground for terrorists.
But governments still continue to build more madrasas and mosques all over the country to get votes from ignorant masses.
“I am not surprised when I hear freethinkers are getting murdered in Bangladesh.”
Jugantor newspaper in Dhaka reported on April 2 that Dhaka Mahanagar police detective department has come across startling revelations while interrogating Washiqur’s killers.
They have reportedly confessed that members of the Ansarullah bengali cartoon Team are infiltrating into India with a plan to assassinate Taslima in Delhi.
When Mail Today asked Trinammol Congress leaders how they are planning to tackle this menace, they avoided a direct answer to the question.
While party MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay refused to comment on the matter, another party MP Saugata Roy said: “She is under Central Government protection. Her security is the central government’s responsibility.”
The Mamata Banerjee government has come under repeated attack from the Opposition for going soft on cross-border illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which has led to Islamists shifting base to various parts of India.
Taslima, the author of controversial book Lajja, is at present staying in India with a resident permit.
She has been continuously renewing her Indian visa since 2004.
She has been living in exile since 1994 and has lived in the US, Europe and India in the last two decades.