New Delhi, September 23: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has assured Hindus whose names are missing from the national register of citizens (NRC) that their exclusion from the list will not mean their expulsion from the country.
According to functionaries aware of the developments, Bhagwat was speaking at a closed door meeting between the Sangh and the BJP in Kolkata on Sunday, where he sought to allay fears that Hindus will also have to face expulsion from Assam where the final NRC list was released on August 31.
The final list excluded 1.9 million people, many of them Bengali Hindus.
While the RSS has been campaigning for identifying illegal immigrants, it has had also been pushing for bringing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB that seeks to simplify the process of granting Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The RSS has been pushing for citizenship to be provided to “persecuted Hindus”, claiming that India is the only place for the community.
According to a functionary, not wishing to be named, the issue of Hindus excluded from the NRC was raised at the meeting of the Sangh that was held earlier this month in Rajasthan’s Pushkar. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has made a presentation on the issue.
“The Sangh is of the view that the BJP government should introduce the CAB in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament,” the functionary said.
It has also asked its cadre in Assam to reach out to allay fears of those Hindus whose names are not on the NRC list.
Another functionary said the Sangh has underlined the need for bringing the CAB and identifying illegal immigrants in states along the country’s international border since it is “concerned by the changing demography in the sensitive border areas.”
BJP’s Bengal unit president Dilip Ghosh also attended the meeting.
The NRC has been a bone of contention between the BJP and Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress. On Monday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee reiterated that her government will never allow an NRC exercise in the state.
“I am sad that six people have died in Bengal due to panic created over National Register of Citizens (NRC). We will never allow NRC here. Please have faith in me,” she said while addressing a trade union meeting in Kolkata, according to ANI.
Last week, during a meeting with Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi, Banerjee raised the issue of the NRC in Assam and said that no Indian should be put through difficulties.
Banerjee has been a vocal critic of the NRC and had alleged that the exercise was a mere tactic to divert attention from the country’s economic slowdown and had dared the BJP to “touch a single person living in Bengal.” (Agencies)