Congress rebukes Modi for his offer to host Taslima

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) A day after criticising the Left Front and BJP governments in West Bengal and Rajasthan on the Taslima Nasreen issue, the Congress today appealed to the exiled Bangladeshi writer to be cautious and not to hurt or wound the feelings of persons of any section of the society.

''The Congress Party makes it clear that no citizen or person holding a valid visa is entitled to hurt or wound the feelings of persons of any section of the society,'' AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi told mediapersons.

Dr Singhvi rebuked Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his offer to host Ms Nasreen in his state, and said he (Mr Modi) should first come forward to protect the women of his state. ''Mr Modi has a lot of things to answer. We know what he did to women in Gujarat.'' In this context, he said it was strange that one BJP-ruled state (Rajasthan) expelled her and another one (Gujarat) opted to host her. This, Dr Singhvi, said was nothing but the strategy of the BJP to create internal discord within a minority community.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told mediapersons separately that ''If Mr Narendra Modi wants atonement of his past sins (post-Godhra incidents), he is welcome. It will purify his soul and that of his party.'' He said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would make a statement in Lok Sabha on the Nasreen issue tomorrow.

Both Mr Dasmunsi and Dr Singhvi maintained that Ms Nasreen was very much in India only, but refused to reveal her present place of stay.

On the allegation of BJP that Ms Nasreen was ''abducted'' to an undisclosed destination, Dr Singhvi said ''We don't believe in state-sponsored kidnappings.'' ''Taslima Nasreen has been coming to India time and again. It is the duty of the state government to give her protection under the law but no person is entitled to hurt the religious feelings of any section of the society,'' Dr Singhvi said, while dismissing a question on if the government proposed to deport the popular woman writer who is facing threat from Muslim fundamentalist organisations.

On the BJP allegation that Ms Nasreen was made to run for her life after she was granted shelter and visa to stay in India, Dr Singhvi said it was for the state government to ensure maintenance of rule of law which includes granting protection to any citizen or to a person who holds a valid visa. ''The law and order is a state subject.'' UNI

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