Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, informed the state parliament on Monday that the government was organising a “population army” to distribute contraceptives and raise awareness about population control in Muslim-dominated areas.
According to the 2011 Census, Muslims make up 34.22 percent of Assam’s total population of 3.12 crore.
As The Wire previously highlighted, legislation like these are likely to have a number of implications, including an increase in female foeticide, unsafe abortions, and community profiling. The Sangh parivar and its allies have frequently exploited the “growing population” ruse to target the Muslim community, creating a false narrative that Muslims intend to become the country’s majority.
Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, a senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington’s Centre for Science and Society, revealed in The Wire Science that this is not the case:
“…the concept of a ‘population boom’ adds to the country’s already rising anti-Muslim attitude. This, in turn, has been built on unfounded fears that India’s Muslim population is rapidly exceeding that of Hindus, which have been fueled by sectarian statements made by prominent political leaders. The TFR [Total Fertility Rate] among Muslims, on the other hand, is rapidly declining, far faster than among Hindus.”