New Delhi: In yet another step towards the Hindu right’s attempts to distance themselves from the published National Register of Citizens in Assam, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat said on Sunday that no Hindu would have to think about leaving the country even if their names were excluded from the citizens’ register.
Bhagwat’s claim, made at a closed door meeting between RSS affiliate organisations including Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal’s Uluberia, comes in the aftermath of heavy rumours and unconfirmed reports which have held that there are more Hindus than Muslims among the 19 lakh excluded from the Assam NRC.
PTI quoted an RSS functionary as having said, “Mohan Bhagwat ji has clearly said that not a single Hindu will have to leave this country. He said that Hindus, who came to India after being tortured and persecuted in other nations, will stay.”
Bhagwat is understood to have insisted that even those Hindus whose names are not in the Assam NRC can rest easy as the “RSS will stand by them”.
BJP and its brass, however, have raised the pitch for a countrywide NRC, with special focus on West Bengal, a state it is keen on assuming power in. An NRC in Bengal was its prime poll promise ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
The Telegraph quoted a senior BJP leader who attended the meeting as having said, “We expect the Union home minister and our national party president Amit Shah to give a similar assurance about Hindus not named in the NRC in Assam and elsewhere, like in Bengal, during his visit to Calcutta on October 1.” Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh also attended the meeting.
Shah has spoken vehemently for a Bengal NRC and infamously referred to “illegal immigrants”as “termites” at one of his rallies. The idea has found stiff opposition in the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and most importantly, the ruling Trinamool Congress in Bengal.
The PTI report, however, quoted agency sources as having said that several leaders present at the meeting underlined the need for the implementation of the hugely debated Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in West Bengal before coming out with an NRC for the state. Bengal, like Assam, shares a border with Bangladesh, but has not seen anti-immigrant politics to the extent that Assam has.
Bhagwat arrived in Kolkata on September 19 to take part in the two-day long coordination meeting. This is the first time since the BJP’s capture of an unprecedented 18 seats in the Lok Sabha polls in Bengal, that Bhagwat has chaired a mega meeting in the state.
(With PTI inputs)