Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday said he would be “very happy” to see eminent artist M.F. Husain return to India and said the government would not allow any threat to him. Mr. Husain, who has been living in Dubai and London for the past several years as he faced threats from some Hindu organisations, was recently given Qatari citizenship.
“We would be very happy if M.F. Husain returns to India,” Mr. Chidambaram said in reply to a question at a press conference here. He said the artist’s family had been informed that full security would be provided to him if the nonagenarian artist decided to come back.
“There is no danger to him and we will not allow any threat to him,” Mr. Chidambaram said, adding that there were some cases against Mr. Husain in the lower courts and lawyers could find a way to put an end to those.
The Home Minister also noted that the High Court and the Supreme Court had quashed some cases against the artist.
The Delhi High Court in May last quashed criminal proceedings against him, saying his paintings were an expression of creativity.
Replying to a question on the situation in Karnataka, where violence had erupted in Shimoga and Hassan as protests were launched against publication of Taslima Nasreen’s article by a Kannada daily, the Home Minister said it was “extremely unfortunate and mischievous” and hoped that the State government would take action.
There was no occasion for the article, purported to have been written in 2007, to be published at a time when a Muslim festival was being observed.
Mr. Chidambaram said he was in touch with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and Central forces had also been rushed to Karnataka. He said the Chief Minister had told him that an FIR had been registered. Mr. Chidambaram said the Governor had called a meeting of Muslim leaders to restore peace.
He said there was no problem in extending visa to the Bangladeshi author as Ms. Nasreen “comes and leaves for a short period.”
Referring to the three dossiers prepared by the Home Ministry and handed over by Indian Foreign Secretary to her counterpart from Pakistan during the February 25 talks, Mr. Chidambaram said he expected Islamabad to take action against the persons mentioned in the dossiers.
He said Hafiz Saeed, JuD chief and mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, was giving provocative and incendiary speeches in Pakistan without any hindrance. “We expect Pakistan to act against him,” he said.
To a question on Afghanistan, he said that it remained a “vulnerable” area for Indian assets and the government planned to provide more and better security to its nationals posted in the troubled country.
“There were intelligence alerts that Indian assets may be targeted, following which adequate steps were taken but Afghanistan is a vulnerable area,” Mr. Chidambaram said about last week’s attack in Kabul in which six Indians died.