Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Thursday, urged the minority Muslim community in the state to adopt a “decent family planning” policy for poverty reduction.
“We want to work with the minority Muslim community to control population. The root cause of issues such as poverty, land encroachment etc., lies in uncontrolled population growth. I think we can put an end to a lot of social problems in Assam if the Muslim community adopts decent family planning norms,” the CM said in Guwahati.
According to the New Indian Express, the statement comes against the backdrop of eviction drives carried out at some places which drew criticism from some minority-based organisations.
Sarma appealed to organisations such as All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) and Opposition party All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) to focus on population control initiatives in the Muslim community, Hindustan Times reported.
“Assam government is going to take a few more steps which should encourage population control. I want to work with AAMSU and AIUDF on this,” he said.
“To remove poverty, we have to educate Muslim women and control population. We are there to educate women and reduce poverty. However, poverty will never get reduced unless you control your population,” the New Indian Express quoted Sarma, as saying.
Muslims constitute around 33% of Assam’s 3.30 crore population. Recently, around 200 Muslims were evicted from over 400 bighas of government land in Hojai, Karimganj and Darrang districts.