Indian Muslims free to go to Pakistan, says Assam governor
Assam governor PB Acharya sparked off a fresh controversy on Sunday, stating that Indian Muslims who feel persecuted in the country are ‘free to go’ to Pakistan.
“Indian Muslims are free to go anywhere... Many of them have gone to Pakistan. If one wants to go Pakistan or Bangladesh, he is free to go. If he is persecuted like Tasleema Nasreen...” Acharya was quoted as saying by ANI.
Acharya said all Indian-origin people, including Muslims, persecuted in any foreign lands were welcome in the country.
“Any Indian-origin people persecuted in Bangladesh and in any foreign land have the legitimate right to come to India and it is our duty to receive them... People of all religions, including Muslims, have the right to come to India,” Acharya was quoted as saying by PTI.
“India has a big heart. India is the most tolerant country in the world,” Acharya said.
He, however, said that Hindus originating in other countries had no right to come to India.
“American Hindus or British Hindus or Hindus in other nations...they can go to their own countries. I am talking about those people who were originally from India,” he added.
Asked about any plan to settle the refugees across different states in the country by not giving the entire load to one particular state, Acharya said it was the duty of the government, both state and Centre, to formulate a mechanism for settlement.
Acharya on Saturday had said ‘Hindustan is for Hindus’ during a book launch, while replying to a question on updating the National Register for Citizens list and on the controversy surrounding the Centre’s notification of allowing religious minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh fleeing persecution to seek shelter in India.
In an attempt to clarify his comment, Acharya said, “I didn’t mean Hindustan is for Hindus only, persecuted Hindus anywhere have a right to seek shelter here.”
On the National Register of Citizens
Acharya said “a few elements” with “international agenda” were trying to derail the development of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state.
“There may be a few elements with international agenda who are trying to derail the entire process. Some important lobby people are interested that North-East always remains in troubled state,” Acharya told reporters here.
He declined to name the forces inimical to the interest of Assam.
“These elements should not be entertained at all,” the Governor said.
“Despite extra time allotted, reports suggest that the work will not be completed within time. Considering its importance and urgent need, the completion of the work be expedited,” he added.
The updated NRC should not have a single foreigner and all legitimate Indians should be included in the list so that the Assembly election in 2016 could be held with an updated Register, Acharya said.
“It is not a question of religion. It is a question of nationalism and security. Inclusion of foreigners and omission of Indians will be detrimental to the security of India. Proper NRC is the beginning of vibrant and strong Assam and North East,” he said.
Acharya said he had called the State Coordinator of NRC Prateek Hajela and asked him to expedite the process.