India to continue to provide shelter to Taslima: Govt

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) India will continue to provide shelter and protection to Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen in keeping with the country's civilisational heritage and national policy, the government announced today.

In a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Ms Nasreen, like all those who had been granted shelter in India, will ''eschew political activities...

actions which may harm India's relations with friendly countries (and) refrain from activities and expressions that may hurt the sentiments of our people.'' The statement was also read out by Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma in the Rajya Sabha.

The Minister said in line with civilizational heritage of India, which is ''now government policy'', India will provide shelter to Ms Nasreen. ''This olicy will also apply in Ms Taslima Nasreen's case.'' Referring to considerable public attention on the issue, he said ''noted'' Bangladeshi writer had been in India for some time.

''Throughout history, India has never refused shelter to those who have come and sought our protection. This civilizational heritage, which is now government policy, will continue and India will provide shelter to Ms Nasreen.'' ''Those who have been granted shelter here have always undertaken to eshcew political activities in India or any actions which may harm India's relations with friendly countries. It is also expected that the guests will refran from activities and expressions that may hurt the sentiments of our people,'' the Minister said.

The statement said ''while these guests are in India, the Union and the State Governments provide them protection. This policy will also apply in Ms Taslima Nasreen's case.'' UNI

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