Towing a slightly different line, Marxist patriarch Jyoti Basu on Tuesday said controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen can return here if she chooses to, but the Centre will have to ensure her security.
"If she wants to return to Kolkata or elsewhere in West Bengal, she is welcome. But the Centre will have to ensure her security," he told reporters after a felicitation programme at his Salt Lake residence.
This is the first CPI(M) leader to speak in sympathetic tone for the exiled writer ever since trouble broke out in Kolkata last month over her writings with a number of leaders having adoped a rather cold attitude on her return to the city.
Recalling that he had met Nasreen earlier on several occasions, Basu said, "I read in the newspapers that she is very disappointed about having to stay outside Kolkata. Now let us see what the Centre says."
Stating that he had read Nasreen's book Dwikhondito which sparked off violence in the city last month, the former West Bengal chief minister said, "The state government has already banned the book. What she has written there about the Prophet Mohammad and the Koran cannot be accepted by any Muslim."
Basu, however, was also critical of those who indulged in the violence last month after which she was whisked away to Jaipur, the Rajsthan House in Delhi and then to an undisclosed location in the national capital.
"Those who indulge in such violence think that they will be closer to God if they kill people," he said.
Lauding External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for his statement in Parliament on the Taslima Nasreen issue, he said, "the External Affairs Minister has given a good speech."