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Arindam Sarkar, Hindustan Times
Kolkata, November 27, 2007
Taslima Nasreen is happy her plight has been highlighted, but the author-in-hiding says she does not want to become a victim of politics. She has been told that she could become an issue for the BJP against the Congress and the CPM in the Gujarat elections.

“I do not want any more twists to my tale of woes. Please do not give political colour to my plight. I do not want to be a victim of politics. And I do not want anybody to do politics with me,” an anguished Taslima told HT on Monday over the telephone.

She has been told that her exit from Bengal in the face of threats from the Muslim fundamentalists has caused considerable embarrassment to the CPM and the Congress. And through television Taslima has come to know that both parties — the two secular forces in the country — were being blamed for succumbing to Muslim fundamentalist pressure and failing to provide security to her in Kolkata.

The government has asked her to stay in the Capital, said Taslima denying rumours that she been told to leave the country. Too many stories were being cooked up, said the author, for which, she should not be held responsible.

“Till I get a green signal, the Centre has told me to stay put in Delhi. My security would continue. Let me live in peace. Pray that I am able to return to a normal writer’s life in Kolkata.”

Taslima was happy to know that parties in Bengal have started demanding her return to the city. She was told that the state Congress on Monday shot off a letter to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee seeking a statement from him on Taslima.

“We have asked the CM to let us know the official stand of the Left Front government on Taslima. We want a clear statement from him, since Taslima’s exit has put a blotch on the cultural heritage of the city,” said the CLP leader Manas Bhuniya.

The state BJP has given a 48-hour ultimatum to Bhattacharjee to get Taslima back to the city. The leaders said the Bengal CPM had instigated the Taslima crisis to divert attention from Nandigram. “But this won’t help. And if the government cannot provide security, let it say it clearly. Taslima can stay in Gujarat or Rajasthan,” said party state secretary Rahul Sinha.

But both Bhattacharjee and the CPM are hedging on the issue. Unwilling to give much importance to the problem, the party is maintaining that it is for Taslima to decide whether she wants to return.

While majority of CPM’s leaders refuse to comment, the few who do are spitting venom. “It is disgusting that the nation has nothing else to talk about. But the CPM is not an one-issue party,” said MP Mohammad Salim.

“Why talk about Taslima now? The crisis is over,” added Speaker Hashim Abdul Halim, the party MLA from Entally, where the violence had broken out last week.

However, it is learnt that the Taslima issue is going to crop up in the next CPM State secretariat meeting on Friday.