Modi, Cong spar over Taslima
Taslima Nasreen remains in the spotlight with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh demanding political refugee status for her and Narendra Modi offering her refuge in Gujarat, reports Aloke Tikku.delhi Updated: Nov 28, 2007 02:21 IST
Central security agencies whisked away Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen to a safe house on the Capital’s periphery past midnight on Monday to move her away from public glare and cap the controversy over her stay in India.
But the writer, who had to leave Kolkata last week, has remained in the spotlight with the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh demanding political refugee status for her and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi offering her refuge in Gujarat.
The Congress was quick to react to Modi’s offer. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi wondered if the Gujarat chief minister intended to “atone” for his sins, an oblique reference to the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Modi’s words showed the “hypocrisy” of the BJP when one state under its control (Rajasthan) had eased her out and another was inviting her.
He ridiculed the charge that she was abducted by central agencies. “We do not believe in state kidnapping,” he said.
As the war of words between the ruling party and the main Opposition continued both in Parliament and outside, the BJP’s V. K. Malhotra wanted to know where Taslima was kept.
“She is very much in India,” Dasmunsi said, adding that the government would make a statement on the matter in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
The Bangladeshi writer, who has pleaded in the past not to make her stay in India a political issue, also won support from organisations in Delhi like Anhad, Jagori, Women’s Unlimited and Women’s Feature Service.
These outfits took out a silent demonstration in her defence on Tuesday.
There were also words of support from a prominent Muslim women’s group in Kerala, the Progressive Muslim Women’s Forum, that demanded steps by the government to ensure her stay in India.
Taslima was moved out of her home in Kolkata last Thursday after violence erupted over her stay in the city. Some minority groups wanted her expelled.
The author has a valid visa till February 17, 2008.
Taslima was first moved to Jaipur, but she stayed there only for a night.
On Friday, the state government moved her to Rajasthan House in Delhi, effectively making her security a joint responsibility of the state as well as the Centre.
Late on Monday, the Union Home Ministry moved her out a little before 1 am.
She is believed to have tried calling a few friends to inform them about her relocation but was advised against it.
Officials said she was being kept in one of the many safe houses that the intelligence agencies operate in and around the Capital to move her out of the media glare and let the controversy surrounding her die down.
“We cannot disclose her location…. The entire idea of the operation was to keep her whereabouts a secret,” a security official said, but hinted she was not too far from the Capital and within the National Capital Region.