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Advani, Gujral speak for Taslima

Advani, Gujral speak for Taslima

Author: Special Correspondent
Publication: The Hindu
Date: February 1, 2008
URL: http://www.thehindu.com/2008/02/01/stories/2008020154991200.htm

Bharatiya Janata Party's senior leader L. K. Advani on Thursday sought an extension of the visa of exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen. He also demanded that she be allowed to lead a normal life in West Bengal.

The former Prime Minister, I. K. Gujral, and personalities such as Kuldip Nayar, Ashis Nandy, Debabrata Bandyopadhyay, Saifuddin Choudhury, Muchkund Dubey and Sumit Chakravartty have also written to the Union Home Minister expressing concern over the treatment being meted out to her.

The two statements come close on the heels of Ms. Nasreen's hospitalisation over the weekend.

Referring to her hospitalisation, Mr. Advani - speaking at a book release function said both the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance at the Centre and the CPI(M)-led Left Front government in West Bengal were responsible for her "extraordinary plight."

"Appeasement"

Mr. Advani accused the two governments of "practising the most perverse kind of vote-bank politics and appeasement of religious extremism."

He said: "It is, indeed, ironic that the Congress-Communist combine, which has actively colluded in the influx of 1,20,53,950 illegal Bangladeshi migrants (as on December 31, 2001)… cannot give protection to a single hapless woman, who is a victim of religious persecution in her own country."

It was the responsibility of the Central and State governments to ensure Ms. Nasreen's personal security. Religious extremists, who might harm her, have to be dealt with according to the law of the land, he added.

In their letter to the Home Minister, Mr. Gujral and others expressed concern over the manner in which Ms. Nasreen was kept in "virtual detention in a secret place in Delhi" for the past three months. .

Referring to her isolation, the letter noted that this deprivation from leading a normal life had not only stifled her creative work but also aggravated her health problems. They also saw no logic in the government's justification for "incarcerating her in Delhi" to ensure her personal security.

Ms. Nasreen had led a normal life in Kolkata for over three years and faced no threats to her security.

"We are convinced that if she is allowed to lead a normal life again, nobody will pose a threat to her life except some fringe extremist elements, who must be dealt with by the government according to the law of the land," they said.

They feared that if extremists were allowed to pursue their agenda in such a manner, it would only encourage them and pose a threat to the social fabric, security, peace and stability in the country.


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