20:15 GMT25 January 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India witnessed mass protests after the government enacted a law to grant citizenship to religious minorities who had fled persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The law was widely perceived to be an attempt at religious polarisation, as Muslims were left out of it; authorities, however, denied the allegations.

    On late Tuesday evening, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat said, “the people of India should lead the world in finding unity in diversity.”

    “There is diversity in the universe and we need to accept and respect it. We understand that there is unity in diversity,” Bhagwat said in the Indian capital New Delhi, adding, “Nowadays, our caste or political allegiance determines whether we are united or separated. The whole world is plagued by this wrong approach. Indians have to correct this trend."

    Almost three weeks ago, Mohan Bhagwat said that RSS considered the entire 1.3 billion Indian population as a Hindu Society, irrespective of their religion and culture.

    India has seen wide-spread protests after the federal government introduced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in early December 2019. The protests in some cases turned violent, triggering clashes with security forces where 25 people lost their lives: in northeastern Assam, northern Uttar Pradesh and in southern Karnataka.

    The amendments to the Indian Citizenship Act, passed by the Parliament on 13 December, grants citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis who have fled Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Muslims were left out of the purview of the law, which was the root-cause of the ongoing agitations, alleging it to be discriminatory and against the Constitution of India.

    The government has, however, strongly rejected these allegations, saying that the law was not discriminating against any group.

    Since then, several opposition parties, civil rights groups and university students have been protesting against the law. Many non-BJP ruled states have also made it clear that they would not be party to enforcing the law. The southern state of Kerala has challenged the law in the Supreme Court of India, contending its constitutional validity.

    In the face of nationwide protests against the law, the national ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological parent Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have begun reaching out to Muslim clergies, academicians and professionals over the law.

    Several meetings have recently been held in the BJP ruled Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which saw large-scale violence and 18 deaths during protests against the new law. The meetings have been held at eight places in UP during the last four days. 

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