RSS has been actively working in the Barak valley region and the adjoining areas of Tripura for more than 4 decades. The visit of the RSS chief has brought a lot of hope for the people in the Barak valley as also other Bengali Hindus across the region.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) Sarsangchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat just concluded a four day trip to Silchar beginning 27 September 2019. This trip is more then six years after his previous trip in January 2013 just before taking over as the Sarsangchalak. His engagements all these four days were very much organisation focussed and apart from a lecture for the public it was restricted to meeting with the various pracharaks from across the north eastern region over various sessions and combination. The chief ministers of Assam and Tripura came to meet him in Silchar. Various senior post holders and cadres of the RSS also were in presence in this southern Assam town in Barak valley as also many BJP workers.
The trip very significant from many considerations and the time it has been undertaken. Ever since the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) list for Assam was published by the Assam NRC Coordinator (ANC) on 31st August 2019, there have been a sense of dissatisfaction across most sections particularly the Bengali Hindus. The complete NRC list had 3,11,21,004 persons eligible for inclusion while 19,06,657 were ineligible including those who did not submit their claims. Once the final NRC list was made available fully on 14th September 2019, even more dissatisfaction were noticed as most of the corrections hadn’t been incorporated. A large number of names left out among the 19 lakhs, are believed to be those of Bengali Hindus and a significant number of them reside in the three districts of Barak valley of Assam.
Also the past experience around the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that was premised as an enabling provision to allow application for Indian citizenship to people belonging to the six minorities communities- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh had created some doubts. On the basis of the two notifications of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the union government issued in September 2015 and July 2016, these people were no more considered illegal in the context of the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920. However these notifications were yet to be accepted and notified further by the state government and this was another area of concern which was also widely protested just a few days across the Barak valley by North Eastern Linguistic and Ethnic Coordination Committee (NELECC) most of whose keys members were active RSS workers in Barak valley. These three issues have been creating a lot of doubts in the mind of the people in the Barak valley and had set the murmurs in many quarters about what the RSS would do for the Hindus of the region.
The visit of the RSS chief set to rest all these doubts and brought a lot of hope for most of the people in the Barak valley as also other Bengali Hindus across the region. Everyone felt reassured at the attention and the extensive programme of the Sarsangchalak in Silchar. All along for more than 4 decades, RSS has been actively working in the Barak valley region and the adjoining areas of Tripura with the prant being managed from Silchar. This presence has been a great security for the people of the region and also helped to maintain a good relation with the people of the Brahmaputra valley both culturally and emotionally. While everyone appreciated the complicated situation in the north eastern region due to illegal immigration over the years, the plight of the Bengali Hindus many of whom are victims of the partition of 1947 as also the Sylhet referendum of 1947 always needed special attention.
The RSS always understood this situation and have worked for the last many years to build the right bonhomie across communities in the state. Just few days prior to his visit to Silchar, the RSS chief said the any Hindus from any corner of the world if persecuted could take shelter in India. At Silchar he reiterated this fact and also underlined that India remained the natural choice for every Hindu to look back to. This is definitely due to civilizational considerations and the openness with which the Hindu society conducted itself. Clearly that has been a persistent position of the RSS and assured the people of the valley about the dependency of the RSS to its age old commitment.
The RSS has always had a very good influence on the people of the Barak valley and based on its influence, the political growth of the BJP has happened in the region. The first two members of parliament from the whole of north east region won from both the seats of the valley, Silchar and Karimganj way back in 1991. Even during the recent Lok Sabha elections in May 2019, both these seats were wrested back by the BJP once again based on the ground work and goodwill of the RSS in the valley. Even in 2016 Assembly elections, unknown faces became MLAs of the BJP with the goodwill of the RSS cadres there in Barak valley.
With a BJP government in the centre and state, the hopes and aspirations of the people of Barak valley upon the RSS as the guiding ideological organisation for the party was very visible. Much on the next steps for NRC and reintroduction of CAB is being seen in this light. The dignified presence of the Sarsangchalak is seen as sending the right message to the concerned political leadership to seriously address the emerging situation. A lot of arguments are floating in the air about the fate of the left outs in the NRC list and the next steps and one idea that has been going around is also that the CAB will be introduced in parliament by the BJP in the next session and this will take care of the non Muslims or euphemistically allow the Hindus largely to escape the impact of the exclusion in the NRC.
However the CAB unless it is revised from its earlier draft will not cover those left out of NRC as the parameters for application are different. It is here that the endorsement of the MHA notification of 7 September 2015 by the state government as a first step that would cover individuals from those three countries ‘who were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution’ and those who had come to India before 31 December 2014 would be imperative. As a next step these individuals should not be sent to the detention camps and should be allowed to apply for Indian citizenship under naturalization after ‘the aggregate period of residence or services of a government in India’ after spending six years instead of the existing eleven years as envisaged in CAB.
Needless to say the visit has reassured the people of Barak valley and the whole of the north eastern region about the attention of the RSS leadership to the region. It has also given a boost to the motivation of thousands of RSS cadres to work for the society, region and ccountry. Barak valley was also witness to illegal immigration from Bangladesh and has seen demographic changes in the districts of Karimganj and Hailakandi as also any pockets of Cachar. A proper implementation of the NRC and CAB would set the historical wrongs right over a period of the next few years and hopefully that movement has started with this momentous visit.