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WikiLeaks / ibnlive.in.com / Posted on Aug 26, 2011 at 01:06pm IST.
SUBJECT: AUTHOR TASLIMA NASREEN: PAWN IN POLITICAL WEB
REF: A. KOLKATA 359 / B. KOLKATA 356
1. (SBU) Summary: Claiming that the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPM) pushed her to leave Kolkata (ref A), controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen finally settled in a "safe place" in Delhi under the security of the Indian central government. Her flight from Kolkata sparked a political firestorm, with the BJP offering her sanctuary and the CPM, ironically, being seen as anti-secular. After a pounding in the media and the opposition for initially looking the other way during Nasreen's flight, the UPA finally agreed on November 28 to provide her safe shelter in India provided she not engage in political activities. Congress and the CPM continued to snipe at each other while searching for a solution that does not offend their all-important Muslim vote bank. The CPM is being accused by some of manufacturing the controversy in order to drive Nandigram out of the front pages. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has claimed the secular high ground calling for Nasreen to receive a permanent visa. Adding a farcical tinge to the controversy, noted Muslim-bashing Gujarat BJP Chief Minister Narendra Modi has even jumped on the bandwagon, offering Nasreen protection in his state.
2. (SBU) While on the defensive, the CPM believes this is an easier issue to handle in Parliament than Nandigram, and is probably quietly relieved that her case has pushed the Nandigram massacres from the front page. The Congress wants to push the issue under the rug. The BJP holds the upper hand and will milk the controversy dry. As for the author, she has said Kolkata is her home and she would prefer to live there, but the CPM, it seems, despite its high-minded rhetoric about looking after the little guy, has no space in that teeming city for a female author fleeing an unjust fatwa and threats to her life in Bangladesh. In the end, this episode further exposes the CPM for the hypocritical authoritarians that they really are. End Summary
Intolerance Rears its Ugly Head
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3. (U) The storm surrounding controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen began on November 21, a few days after the Nandigram killings (ref B). Nasreen and Nandigram became linked after All India Minorities Forum president Idris Ali led a protest against CPM's actions in Nandigram and demanded Nasreen's Indian visa be revoked for what he claimed were her anti-Islamic writings. Protesters fought a pitched battle with Kolkata police causing numerous injuries but no fatalities. To quell the violence, the CPM government of West Bengal (GOWB) called for Nasreen to "leave the state." (Note: Nasreen, who travels on a Swedish passport, faces death threats from fundamentalists in Bangladesh, her country of birth, for her writings. Her Indian visa expires February 17, 2008).
The CPM Abandons Her to Her Fate