Mahant Avaidyanath, from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party called for control of India’s Muslim population (Photo: Creative Commons)
Elham Asaad Buaras
A Hindu nationalist MP from the northern city of Gorakhpur has been accused of inflaming Islamophobia by asking in an online poll whether India’s Government should curb Muslim birthrates.
Hindu MP calls for control of Muslim birthrate, from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), posed the question on his personal website after reports that the number of Hindus in India had dipped below 80 per cent of the total population. 95 percent of respondents to his poll voted that the Government should control Muslim birthrates.
According to the 2011 census, India now has 966.3 million Hindus, who make up 79.8 per cent of its population, and 172.2 million Muslims, who make up 14.23 per cent. Among the other minorities, Christians make up 2.3 per cent of the population and Sikhs 1.72 per cent.
He has also demanded a central law to check the population growth of Muslims. Avaidyanath said the latest Census figures confirm that the rising population of Muslims is a “threat to Hindus”.
“What do the Census figures indicate? We have seen in the past. Can we forget what happened in the past?” he asked.
“We will run this poll for some more time and ensure that the genuine opinion of people is conveyed to the Prime Minister,” he told The Hindu.
“Controlling population is very important, and the Government should come out with a comprehensive population policy to address this issue,” he said. Asked about how he squared this attitude with the fact that his party as the Jan Sangh had, during the Emergency, opposed forcible sterilisation and other prescriptive measures of population control, he replied, “The population policy would be for everyone not just Muslims, and as Indians we must consider population control as a serious issue.”
“If India is a democracy then everyone has the right to express their opinion on issues. This is my opinion. I’m a citizen of this country and feel alarmed by the statistics,” he said.
However, India’s Muslim population is growing slower than it had in the previous decades, and its growth rate has slowed more sharply than that of the Hindu population, the census data show.
The decadal Muslim rate of growth is the lowest it has ever been in India’s history, as it is for all religions.
Despite the slower rate researchers believe at some point in the 2020s, India will be home to more Muslims than any other country in the world.
A report released the American Pew Research Center shows the Muslim population of India is set to expand at a rate fast enough that the South Asian nation will overtake Indonesia as the country with the most Muslims sometime between 2020 and 2030.