Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday said that the Citizenship Amendment Act will not hurt Indian Muslims, reported The Hindu.

At the launch of a book titled Citizenship debate over NRC and CAA-Assam and the Politics of History, Bhagwat alleged that a section of people were spinning communal narrative around the CAA and the National Register of Citizens to gain political mileage.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. It sparked massive protests across the country last year as this was India’s first faith-based law.

Critics also feared that, clubbed with the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens, the CAA would be used as a tool to discriminate against Indian Muslims.

If citizens cannot meet the eligibility criteria for NRC, they will lose their citizenship. While Hindus and other communities can use CAA as protection against deportation as it grants citizenship, Muslims are excluded from the same, according to The Indian Express.

On Wednesday, speaking at the book launch, Bhagwat said, “Not a single Indian Muslim will face any loss due to the new Citizenship Act. India has been following the [1950] Nehru-Liaquat Pact that state[s] each country would protect its minorities while Pakistan failed to do so.”

Bhagwat said India has always welcomed outsiders but claimed that some of them wanted to impose their language, religion and food habits on others, sparking fears among citizens of the country. He alleged that since 1930, attempts have been made to increase the Muslim population in a “planned manner” to “exercise dominance and slowly turn this nation into Pakistan”.

“This was true for Punjab, Sindh, Assam, and Bengal,” the RSS chief added. “The plan worked to an extent as India got partitioned and Pakistan was created. But it did not happen entirely as planned and Assam did not go to Pakistan, though part of Bengal and Punjab got divided.”

Religious persecution, Bhagwat claimed, forced some citizens in Pakistan to come to India for refuge, while others came with the aim to increase their population. “The provisions of CAA are meant for those who were persecuted in those countries and came to India for refuge,” he said. “It is not for those who came to India without facing any persecution.”

The RSS chief stressed that India cannot ignore the plight of minorities in Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. “We reach out to the majority communities, too, in these countries during a calamity… So if there are some who wish to come to our country due to threats and fear, we will definitely have to help them out,” Bhagwat added.

On NRC, Bhagwat said that all countries have the right to know who their citizens are. “It is the duty of all governments to keep a tab on people [who stay in a country illegally],” he added. “NRC is just one way of finding that out.”

The RSS chief also said that India does not need to learn about secularism from other countries. “Respect for other religions, cultures, and languages are part of India’s culture,” he said. “Our Constitution clearly defines the rights and duties but the problem arises when some people want all the rights and do not want to follow the duties.”