The Assam government has formed a population army of 1,000 youths to distribute contraceptives and create awareness about population control in Muslim-dominated areas of the state, the Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday at the Assembly.
Speaking on the population explosion in the western and central parts of the state, Sarma told the Assembly that the state has also planned to appoint 10,000 health workers to distribute contraceptives among Muslim women.
Opposition members who were participating in the discussion said that using the issue politically would not solve the problem but asserted that there should not be a population control policy for Muslims alone.
Hemanta Biswa Sarma’s controversial population control proposals have triggered outrage and led to similar attempts from Uttar Pradesh, another BJP-ruled state.
Sarma claimed that the problem is more pronounced in Muslim majority districts. He said If the population growth among Hindus in Assam was 10% from 2001 to 2011, it was 29% among Muslims.
The Assam CM also said Assam has become better owing to a smaller population, lifestyle of Hindus with spacious houses and vehicles and children becoming doctors and engineers. However, it is doubtful that how the Chief Minister has drawn the conclusion.
Part of these measures are voluntary sterilisation and enforcement of a two-child limit for couples looking to access state-run welfare schemes.
According to the 2011 Census, Muslims comprise 34.22 percent of Assam’s total population of 3.12 crore and they are in majority in several districts.
Sarma also called for delinking the population control issue from politics while calling for adopting a realistic solution that emphasises on education, health, ending child marriage and financial inclusion to solve the problem among the Muslims of the state.
The problem is more apparent in Muslim-majority districts so the state, however, needed to educate people in these high-population areas, Sarma said.