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India’s Hindu nationalists seek law to control population

The demand refers to findings of a report by an advisory body to PM Modi regarding growth of Muslim population
Shriraj Nair, spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (left).

Shriraj Nair, spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (left). (Photo: X)

Published: May 10, 2024 11:38 AM GMT
Updated: May 10, 2024 11:43 AM GMT

A Hindu nationalist group in India, the world’s most populous country, has demanded a law to control population growth over perceived fears that Muslims could outnumber the majority Hindus.

“Hindus generally settle down for one or two children... [but] there are people who say children are Allah’s gifts. This is a matter of deep concern,” said Shriraj Nair, spokesperson of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council).

Nair said the Indian government “should immediately bring in a Population Control Bill.”

He referred to the recent findings of a report by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC), which said the Hindu population declined by nearly 8 percent between 1950 and 2015 while Muslims grew at a record 43 percent in the 65 years.

“Demography decides your destiny... It’s high time Hindus awakened to this reality. Wherever Hindus slipped into minority, what has happened, we all know. Let's learn from history,” Nair posted on X on May 9.

The EAC report authored by Shamika Ravi, Abraham Jose, and Apurv Kumar Mishra, said that the population of Sikhs went up by 6.58 percent and Christians by 5.38 percent in the same period. But Jains and Parsis witnessed a decline in their numbers.

Ravi claimed that their report, which focuses on the share of religious minorities in 167 countries, “is the first attempt done objectively on this scale” and that the authors will now “need to look into the details.”

“Migration, legal or illegal, is also responsible for change in demography in various parts of the world. But we are not talking migration or birth rate, we are talking conversion,” she added.

The report further said that in neighboring Hindu-majority Nepal, Hindus' share of the population declined by 3.6 percent.

India’s opposition parties have questioned the timing and methodology adopted by the authors for reaching the conclusions when the country is holding a general election, the results of which are expected on June 4.

“The report cites the period between 1950 and 2015. Why does it not talk about the period after that? Moreover, the EAC is bound to be tailored to suit the ruling party’s convenience,” said Congress spokesman Surendra Rajput.

Tejashwi Yadav, leader of the Rashtriya Janata Dal or National People’s Front said Modi’s pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party government had not conducted the national census in 2021.

“You arrived at these numbers without holding a census,” he questioned the authors and urged them to “give up on your Hindu-Muslim binary and talk about real issues.”

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