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BJP slams Govt on silence over Taslima

The saffron party demands that Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen be treated as a political refugee.

india Updated: Nov 25, 2007 20:21 IST

In an attempt to corner both the government and the Left, BJP on Sunday demanded that Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen be treated as a political refugee and slammed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Centre for remaining silent on the issue.

The saffron party alleged while the Centre and the Left front government in West Bengal were welcoming millions of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh into the country, they have shut the doors on Nasreen, a victim of political persecution, as part of vote bank politics.

Nasreen should be treated as a "political refugee in India with a right to live with dignity and security. She is entitled to all rights which have been given to the Tibetan refugees," the party said in a resolution adopted at a meeting of its office bearers in New Delhi.

"A victim of political persecution is being persecuted further since fellow travelling with fundamentalism wins vote banks. The irony of this issue is the customary silence of the Prime Minister and the Central Government," it alleged.

The meeting, chaired by party president Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, was attended among others by senior leaders L K Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha, party vice presidents, general secretaries and state-level leaders.

It drew parellel between the eviction of Nasreen and the enactment of a legislation to nullify the effect of the Shahn Bano judgement in the late 1980s, contending that both involved surrender to "Islamic fundementalists."

The political resolution adopted at the meeting came down heavily on the UPA government and accused it of going soft on terrorism and following a policy of vote bank politics, even on issues which has an impact on national security.

"Mass scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh has served both the Congress and the CPI(M) as a convenient vote bank even though it may have hurt India's security concerns," the resolution said in the context of the Taslima controversy.

Addressing the meeting, Rajnath Singh referred to the controversy over the Indo-US nuclear deal and said the episode has "exposed" the "politics of opportunism" displayed by both the Congress and the Left.

On the Taslima affair, he said on one hand the Congress and the Left are "preaching secularism" while on the other they are "practising communalism."

The resolution attacks the UPA government in strong words as it said there was a "complete breakdown of authority of the central government and the Prime Minister on matters of governance" because of the absence of "decision-making".

"There are only two priorities that the UPA government has. Firstly, survival at any cost... Secondly, perpetuate the politics of vote bank consideration even if it has an impact on national security and integrity," it said.

On Nandigram, the party attacked the CPI(M) saying the development there have shown the whole country the "real, ugly and fascist face" of the Marxist party. "The CPI(M) is hostile to any form of dissent and criticism," it added.

Advani, addressing the meeting, dubbed Nandigram as a "turning point" in the country's political history. He said while the BJP is waging a "political battle with the Congress, it is locked in an ideological war with the Communists."

The resolution alleged that the Congress "lacks the confidence" to criticise the CPI(M). On the terror attacks in Uttar Pradesh, the party said it was "symbolic of the terrorists' ability to strike at will and remind us of the helplessness of the Central government."

It also trained guns at the BSP, saying its government in UP has been a "dismal failure" on the security front. "The BSP government recently enacted a POTA-type law to tackle organised crime. Why can't such a law be used against terrorists? This is motivated by the vote bank politics of the UP government," it alleged.

The meeting reviewed the party's programmes and preparations for the forthcoming Assembly elections to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

First Published: Nov 25, 2007 17:31 IST