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CPM under attack on Taslima issue
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, November 26
The CPM came under increasing attack on the Taslima Nasreen issue with major national parties demanding protection and extension of visa for the Bangladeshi writer, who was virtually hounded out of Kolkata last week.

However, the CPM sought to wash its hands off the matter, saying she moved to Jaipur on her own and it was for the centre to decide where she should stay.

The Congress today accused the BJP of doublespeaks on the Taslima Nasreen issue, saying that the controversial Bangladesh author had been “shunted out” of Rajasthan but the impression being given was that she was being kept in the state.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said the BJP was ‘lecturing’ the government on giving the author political asylum when a party-ruled government ‘was not prepared to keep her’.

Admitting that she was staying in Rajasthan House in Delhi, Singhvi said it did not amount to living in Rajasthan. “Does Rajasthan government provide her security in Delhi,” he asked.

Answering queries, Singhvi said the West Bengal government had raised some ‘legitimate objections’ on extension of her visa, which were later over-ruled by the Central government, which granted her permission to stay on. He said the Centre was completely in the dark on Taslima being moved from one city to another.

Steering clear of questions on whether the Congress or the Centre agreed with the views of the controversial writer, Singhvi said it was not important and had nothing to do with the granting or denial of permission to stay in the country. He said there were rules and procedures for granting such visas including people not participating in the political activities and not causing strains in relations with any country.

Singhvi said when the Centre was examining the request to extend Taslima’s visa, the West Bengal government had raised some ‘legitimate objections’ which were over-ruled.

Earlier, in its reaction on the issue, the CPI(M) said the Bangladeshi writer had moved to Jaipur on her own and it was for the Centre to decide where she should stay.

CPI(M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the writer was not forced out of Kolkata by the West Bengal government and it had no role to play in deciding her stay in the country. He said during her three-year stay in Kolkata, she was given protection by the state government.

Denying reports that the Left Front government was not keen for the return of Nasreen, he said nobody had forced her out of the state and she can move anywhere if the Central government permits.

The CPI(M) leader also accused the BJP of double-standards, saying that it was demanding political asylum for the Bangladeshi author while seeking legal action against noted painter M.F Hussain.

He said while the BJP has chosen to politicise the issue of Taslima Nasreen, Sangh Parivar outfits had filed cases against Hussain.

The BJP mounted pressure on the central government to allow Taslima to “stay wherever she wants” and described silence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s on the issue as “painful”.

“It is a shame for the entire nation that Taslima is made to run for her life” after she was granted shelter and visa to stay in the country, party’s deputy leader in Lok Sabha V.K. Malhotra said here.

Malhotra also rubbished CPM leader Sitaram Yechury’s charge that the BJP was playing vote bank politics on the Taslima issue, saying his party will not gain anything by supporting her.

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