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Ensure justice for Hindu migrants during NRC drive, Vishva Hindu Parishad tells govt

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Assam unit of VHP writes to parliamentary panel on citizenship bill, says Hindu immigrants without proper documents must not be harassed.

New Delhi: The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has asked the government to ensure justice for Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh even as the Supreme Court Monday extended the deadline for the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) until 30 July.

First published after the 1951 Census, the NRC is being updated keeping 24 March, 1971, as the cut-off to identify those who migrated to Assam illegally from Bangladesh after that date.

The crucial exercise, aimed at weeding out illegal immigrants from the voter list, is being monitored by the Supreme Court.

In its representation to the joint parliamentary committee on the controversial citizenship bill, the Assam unit of the VHP said Hindu refugees must not face harassment during the exercise.

Reiterating its support to the exercise, the VHP has asked the government to take into account the plight of Hindu refugees who may not have necessary documents to claim citizenship.

The JPC is visiting different states to take feedback on the controversial bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to illegal migrants belonging to religions such as Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“Bangladeshi Hindus who came here lived as minority there. They had suffered huge losses personally and financially,” said Shashi Mohan Deka, secretary (Assam) VHP.

“They were made to leave Bangladesh whereas Bangladeshi Muslims had come as intruders. This country had been divided on religious lines and we cannot forget that,” he added.

Deka, however, said that the JPC or the government will say anything only after the NRC final draft is ready.

Meanwhile, Manoj Verma, national convener of the Bajrang Dal, said that the movement against the illegal immigrants from Bangladeshi began in the 1980s. “Student bodies took part in it. Every nationalist organisation was in its favour. However, the momentum dwindled because of Congress policies towards the immigrants,” he said.

“Now, the situation has changed. And NRC is an important step to identify immigrants and send them out of Assam,” added Verma.

However, the VHP is of the view there are shortcomings in the NRC update process, because of which people who migrated for genuine reasons are suffering.

“We are waiting for the process to complete and if needed, we will approach the government again to protect the Hindus,” said a senior VHP official.

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