Left's counter offensive on BJP over Taslima, Hussain

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New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) The CPI(M) today lambasted the BJP for its ''double standards'' in demanding political refuge for controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen while legal action against renowned painter M F Hussain.

''The BJP has chosen to polticise the issue of Taslima Nasreen, while not allowing Mr Hussain to return to the country as the Sangh Parivar outfits have filed cases against the latter,'' CPI(M) Floor leader in the Rajya Sabha Sitaram Yechury said.

The BJP's demand for citizenship or residency status to Ms Nasreen was nothing but an attmept to corner both the Left Front government in West Bengal and the UPA government at the Centre as well as to drive political mileage out of the issue, the senior Communist leader said.

Seeking to clarify his party's position over the issue, Mr Yechury told a news conference that it was entirely up to the Centre whether to allow a foreign national to stay in the country or not.

''The state government has nothing to do with it,'' he said.

The CPI(M) leader also came down heavily on the BJP for playing politics over serial blasts in three cities of Uttar Pradesh on Friday. He said the BJP-led NDA government's record was no better in counter terrorism as it was during its tenure that terrorist strikes on Parliament, Akshardham Temple and Red Fort were carried out.

Answering a volley of questions on the party's reported ''U-turn'' on Ms Nasreen's stay in Kolkata, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau member said during her three-year stay in West Begnal, the Bangladeshi author was given full protection.

Stating that her visa permits her to visit any part of the country, Mr Yechury said his party or the party-led West Bengal government had nothing to with her choice to visit Jaipur.

The senior CPI(M) leader said the BJP's vote bank politics came to the fore when it demanded ''political refugee'' status for Ms Nasreen while remaining oppsed to Mr Hussain.

''The BJP want to consolidate its majoirty vote bank,'' he pointed out.

To repeated queries on his party's view or his personal view as a Parliamentarian over the issue, Mr Yechury tactfully evaded all questions and kept on insisting that the West Bengal government was nowhere in the picture. ''If the Centre extends her visa, which is going to expire on February 17, it will be incumbent on the state government to provide her protection.'' To a question pertaining to former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah's suggestion that the controversial author should be allowed to stay in the country if she apologises for hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community, Mr Yechury quipped ''I don't agree with any such view.'' On the Left Democratic Front Chairman Bimon Bose's statement that Ms Nasreen should leave Kolkata as her presence was threatening peace in the city, the CPI(M) leader said the reaction was given in a certain situation. ''But you know he has retracted his statement,'' he pointed out.

He, however, made a strong case for beefing up internal security and putting up a united fight by the political parties and the civil society to defeat the nefarious designs of the terrorists.

''Confidence and the rights of the minorities have to be protected at all cost,'' he added.

UNI

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