A day after he said ‘Hindustan was only for Hindus’ Assam governor PB Acharya, a former RSS pracharak, has caused yet another controversy by saying Muslims in India were free to go anywhere they wanted.
He said, “Indian Muslims are free to go anywhere. They can stay here if they want to stay here, many have gone to Pakistan. If they want to go to Pakistan, Bangladesh, they are free to … but Hindus have no other place.”
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi demanded the immediate withdrawal of Assam’s governor, PB Acharya and urged the central government to appoint a “large hearted personality” in his place, a day after his controversial comment, “Hindustan is for Hindus.”
“He violated the oath of office to protect the country’s integrity and unity. He has lost the standing to remain as a governor. I demand the Centre to immediately appoint a person with a large heart as governor,” Gogoi was quoted by Times of India.
The alleged comments of Acharya, a senior BJP leader before being appointed governor by Prime Minister Narendra Modi government at the centre, caused fresh outrage with civil society members asking for his sacking for bringing the constitutional post to disrepute.
Faced with countrywide condemnation, Acharya on Sunday sought to clarify his statements.
He said, “I didn’t mean Hindustan is for Hindus only, persecuted Hindus anywhere have the right to seek shelter here.”
He said India is the “most tolerant nation in the world” and Indian-origin people, including Muslims, persecuted in any foreign land were welcome in the country. He cited the asylum to Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen to drive home his point.
“We should keep in mind, only because a person is persecuted because of his religion in any country, if Indian Christian is persecuted in Pakistan, he has to come to India. Where else will he go? Indian Christian, Indian Buddhist, Indian Jain, Indian Hindu. If a European Hindu is persecuted in Belgium, he cannot come to India,” he said.
His comments are being viewed as BJP’s preparation for Assam elections, which are due next year and the BJP-led NDA is all set to exploit the issue of illegal immigrants (read Bangladeshis) to its poll advantage.