New Delhi: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat Wednesday backed the implementation of the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC), saying every country has a right to maintain data on its citizens.
“How else will we confirm who is a citizen of the country? Every country has data of its citizens,” Bhagwat said. “There is also the issue of who came illegally and what has to be done with them. It will be decided later but the first issue is to know who the citizens are.”
Bhagwat tried to allay the fears of Muslims, saying that the NRC and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), had nothing to do with the community.
“We have been living together for centuries despite different religions and food habits as our culture is one,” he said. “The CAA is not about Indian Muslims. Whatever assurances have been given in the Constitution for minorities, we are following it as of today.”
Bhagwat was speaking at the launch of a book, Citizenship Debate over NRC and CAA-Assam and the Politics of History, in Guwahati.
According to him, the citizenship law will provide protection to persecuted minorities in neighbouring countries.
“We reach out to the majority communities, too, in these countries during a calamity… So if there are some who wish to come to our country due to threats and fear, we will definitely have to help them out,” Bhagwat said.
The RSS chief also said that some are creating a communal narrative around CAA and NRC. “The matter is in the political domain as the government is involved in it,” he said. “A section of people wants to get political mileage by creating a communal narrative around these two issues.”
‘Some don’t want to assimilate’
The RSS chief, in the course of his speech, also said that a few don’t assimilate with the country’s ethos.
“Citizenship is a right,” he said. “But the problem starts when some demand rights but don’t want to fulfill duties. This is the land of karma, and not just of consumption. Some think of it as a land of consumption and have a problem in assimilation.”
He also said Muslims have crossed over from neighbouring countries to increase their population here.
“Some want dominance, in that their language, religion and God will rule. This has been a problem since 1930 when a strategy was devised to increase the population of Muslims.”
“This thought got some success when India got partitioned. They got half of Punjab and half of Bengal but not Assam,” he added. “A few people have since come to Assam as refugees but a few have come as migrants to increase their population. Their purpose is to increase the Muslim population.”
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was one of the speakers at the event, said the concern in Assam about CAA and NRC, was different from the one at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi.
“Why is there so much resistance to CAA?” he asked. “We have to give preferential treatment to those who have been ill-treated. We support CAA but we need to protect people’s identities and cultures.”
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)