The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) has come down heavily on Taslima Nasreen for her anti-Islam writings. In a stance that’s bound to embolden the fundamentalists gunning for her, the multi-party front demanded on Saturday that the Bangladeshi author either apologise for her views or seek abode in a country other then India.
“She must say sorry for what she has done. Religion is a very serious issue. If she wants to attack religion, she must go somewhere else,” declared National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah. He was enunciating the combine’s stand on the issue at a press conference with other UNPA leaders.
Comparing Taslima’s case with that of Indian-born British author Salman Rushdie, the NC leader said it was for the Centre to decide whether she could continue staying in India.
Taslima is on the run from radical Muslim elements who have driven her out from West Bengal. She is currently in Delhi after being denied hospitality by the Rajasthan government in Jaipur. “I am a Musalmaan. You do not see the effect. I see it,” the former J&K CM said.
Ironically, Abdullah’s charged oratory allowed the relatively peripheral Taslima question to dominate the UNPA proceedings aimed at highlighting the plight of the farm sector, the terrorist attacks in UP, the ruling UPA’s
“listless” performance at the Centre and the India-US nuclear deal.
The participants at the meeting included the alliance’s chairman Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), convenor Chandrababu Naidu (TDP), Farooq Abdullah (NC), O.P. Chautala (INLD), Amar Singh (SP), Vrindavan Goswami (AGP) and former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi.
The meeting preceded a huge TDP rally organised to give Naidu an image makeover from the tech-savvy politician that he is to a serious protagonist of the farmer’s cause. To suit the occasion, Telegu Desam leaders donned green scarves to woo farmers, instead of the yellow associated with their party since NTR’s days.