RSS lauds Citizenship Bill passage, calls it ‘courageous step’

PTI Nagpur | Updated on December 12, 2019

A file photo of RSS General Secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi

The Home Minister has repeatedly said that the bill does not pose any threat to the Muslim community in India, says RSS General Secretary

RSS General Secretary Bhaiyyaji Joshi on Thursday congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament and described it as a “courageous step”.

Talking to reporters in Nagpur, Joshi said that all should rise above their political compulsions and welcome the bill. He said the stand of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has always been that a Hindu who comes to India because of persecution in another country cannot be termed as an intruder, but a refugee.

Also read: Rajya Sabha passes Citizenship Bill; Muslims in India are safe, says Amit Shah

The bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. The Lok Sabha passed it on Monday.

A ‘target of persecution’

Joshi dubbed it as a “courageous step” and thanked the BJP-led central government, the Prime Minister and the Home minister for taking the initiative. “When the country was partitioned, there was a demand for division on religious grounds. However, India did not have any such idea of forming a ‘religious country’. But, the country was partitioned over this issue and the leaders then had accepted it,” he said.

If partition had not taken place on religious grounds, then many incidents thereafter would not have happened, the RSS General Secretary said. “Subsequently, Pakistan and Bangladesh declared themselves as Islamic states, and there were doubts then about what place the minorities residing there will get...because as per the agreement, it was said that the minorities will not face any injustice,” said Joshi.

Unfortunately, this did not happen and the Hindus residing there in large numbers “became target of persecution”, he said.

Looking at the census conducted from time-to-time, the number of Hindus residing in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh came down drastically, he said. “The question arises where these people went, and it comes to fore that many of them came to India,” he said.

‘Very good step’

The Hindus persecuted in these countries had no other place to go than India, where they could live a life of respect and security and hence, they kept coming to India. “However, due to lack of the provisions in the law, these people were deprived of the citizenship of India for many years. There was a huge need that these persecuted people may not be called as ‘intruders’, but termed as refugees, and this was out stand from quite sometime,” Joshi said.

“There is a need for these refugees to have a respectable life and common rights in our country. But, a lot of time passed and these refugees had to wait,” Joshi said. But, the present government has taken a “very good step” and the minority communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will get a respectable place in India,he said.

Also read: People of Assam have nothing to worry about, says PM Narendra Modi

The bill provides an “assurance” (of a respectable life) to the refugees who come to India, he added. “I feel this bill has assured the minorities coming from these countries, and we welcome them and express our happiness for them. Now, their refugee status will end and they will live as citizens and will get benefits of the citizens’ rights in the country,” he said.

Joshi said all should rise above political compulsions and welcome this bill. “The Home Minister has repeatedly said that the bill does not pose any threat to the Muslim community in our country and no one’s rights will be curtailed,” he said.

On the protests

On protests in some north-eastern states following the passage of the bill, Joshi said, “Some states have certainly witnessed unrest, but I am confident that the Centre will take steps to check rumours in the North-East and clear doubts of the people there. They will keep living as earlier.”

Also read: Internet suspension in 10 Assam districts extended for 48 hrs

Joshi also expressed hope that the refugees who get Indian citizenship will be able to live peacefully.

Published on December 12, 2019

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