According to the 2011 census, there are almost 38 million Muslims in the poll-bound Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, making up approximately 19 percent of the total population. Traditionally, it is believed that not many Muslims vote for the Hindu-inclined BJP in the state.
It appears that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to shake off its anti-Muslim image in Uttar Pradesh, where legislative elections are just months away. Of late, there have been several incidents where the BJP and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have talked of Hindu-Muslim unity.
On Wednesday, during the launch of a book titled “Citizenship Debate Over NRC and CAA, Assam and Politics of History” in the state of Assam, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat sought to publicly clarify that the federal government’s plans to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not harm Indian Muslims.
The contentious CAA aims to fast-track citizenship for six minority communities – Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, and Christians – who arrived in India on or before 31 December 2014, from Muslim-majority Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
The amended legislation received heavy criticism from opposition politicians and ordinary citizens alike.