Shelter assurance to Taslima incomplete: BJP

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New Delhi, Nov 28 (UNI) The BJP today said the assurance of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee offering shelter to Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen was 'incomplete' and demanded a categorical assurance that she was free to stay indefinitely in whichever part of the country she felt comfortable.

Demanding a categorical assurance that the Bangladeshi writer could continue to stay in the country indefinitely and an assurance to extend her visa beyond February, BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra said Mr Mukherjee's statement was 'incomplete' and the silence of the West Bengal Government and the ruling party leaders on the matter was intriguing.

He said India has the history and tradition of providing shelter to those hounded from their mother countries and the Bangladeshi writer could not be turned away under pressure from fundamentalist forces.

Asked why the BJP had turned soft towards Ms Nasreen as it had been forthrightly demanding deportation of Bangladeshis from India, Mr Malhotra said the BJP was never against all the Bangladeshis. The party wanted India to shelter Hindu refugees fleeing the attacks from fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh. Ms Nasreen had entered India through legal means and she was not an infiltrator like plenty of Bangladeshis in Delhi and other major cities.

Earlier in the day, Mr Mukherjee had announced in the Lok Sabha that India will continue to provide shelter and protection to the Bangladeshi writer in keeping with the country's civilisational heritage and national policy. She, however, would have to '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 Indian people'.


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