Known to court controversies with his tongue-in-cheek comments, Assam Governor PB Acharya is likely to kick up another storm with his remark that Hindustan was for Hindus. He reportedly made this comment during a book launch here on 21st November and in reply to a question on updating of National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Centre’s recent notification allowing religious minorities fleeing persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan to settle in India.
The Governor asserted Assam has nothing to fear about Hindu refugees from Bangladesh settling in the State and they posed no threat to the indigenous people. He added that there was nothing wrong in Hindus from other countries too taking shelter in India, but reiterated that no Bangladeshi’s name should find mention in the updated NRC.
He declared: ‘Hindustan is for Hindus. There is nothing wrong with that. Hindus from different countries can come and stay here. They cannot be outsiders. There is nothing to be feared about that. But how to accommodate them is a big question and we should think about that.’
He reiterated in the same vein: ‘We shouldn’t allow a single Bangladeshi to be included in the NRC list.’ Meanwhile, taken aback by the adverse reactions from a cross spectrum of people, Acharya clarified the following day that he had been misquoted, adding that India belongs to people of all religions. However, he stoked another controversy by stating that Indian Muslims who feel persecuted in the country are free to go to Pakistan.
With several organisations in the State already up in arms against the Centre’s notification regarding religious minorities fleeing persecution in Bangladesh and Pakistan, the latest comment from the Governor is only likely to add to the din.