Govt should consider Taslima's plea for permanent residence: BJP

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Kochi, Dec 1: Stating India had a long-standing tradition of giving ''shelter'' to those in need, Senior BJP Leader M Venkaiah Naidu today said the government should consider Bangladeshi Author Taslima Nasreen's plea for permanent residence in the country.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Naidu said the Taslima issue had ''thoroughly exposed'' the CPI (M)'s claim of protecting human rights, secularism and freedom of expression.

''They accuse others of fascism. But, when fundamentalists protested against Ms Nasreen, the CPM developed cold feet and sent her out of West Bengal without giving her any information. The CPM surrendered to fundamentalists,'' he added.

About the author's plea for permanent residence in India, he said the government should take a decision on this after considering all pros and cons.

''She is a helpless woman, living as a refugee in India. She is not an infiltrator. There is nothing wrong in the government taking a decision on this after considering all pros and cons. After all, India has a long-standing tradition of giving shelter to those in need,'' he added.

Asked if the BJP was adopting double standards in its approach towards Ms Nasreen and renowned painter M F Hussain, who is living in Dubai following a court case against him, Mr Naidu said the two cases were completely different.

''No government or political party has driven out M F Hussain. He is living in Dubai out of his own choice,'' Mr Naidu said.

Accusing the noted artist of ''habitually targeting a particular religion,'' Mr Naidu said it was the general policy of the BJP that people's feelings should not be offended.

Besides the Taslima issue, the CPM's credibility had also been dented by its handling of the Nandigram protests and its backtracking on the nuclear deal with the US, he said.

''We want the CPM to answer how it can continue to support the government after accusing it of surrendering to the US,'' he added.

Mr Naidu accused the Left parties and the government of a 'trade off' on Nandigram and nuclear deal issues. ''As the CPM is afraid of the government using Article 356 in West Bengal after the Nandigram violence, it suddenly became quiet on the nuclear deal,'' he claimed. However, the 'temporary truce' between the CPM and the government was like a 'commercial break in the political drama,' and general elections were likely in the country next year itself, he said.

Demanding the conduct of Assembly elections in Karnataka in February, 2008, Mr Naidu claimed the Janata Dal (Secular) would be wiped out from Karnataka for its ''treacherous behaviour.'' Stating there was widespread dissatifation with the UPA Government among the people, he said price rise, crisis in the agricultural sector, unemployment and terrorism had made the government very unpopular.

Observing bomb blasts had become an everyday occurance in different parts of the country, the BJP leader said the government was ''totally clueless'' in handling the rising menace of terrorism.

''Only the fear of the BJP, rampant corruption and its love of the chair are keeping the government going,'' he added.

Accusing the Congress of reducing the CBI to ''Congress Bureau of Investigation,'' Mr Naidu said the agency had once again shown its bias by not investigating the 1984 riots case against Congress Leader Jagdish Tytler properly.

''Now that fresh evidence has come up against him, the CBI should properly pursue it,'' he added.

UNI

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