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 said at a press conference.
Acharya also said that India is the ‘most tolerant’ country in the world.
“We will give a safe haven to anyone and everyone. India is a big hearted country. India is the most tolerant country in the world,” he said.
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.”
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 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.