Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma urged the Muslim immigrants in the state to “adopt decent family planning” to curb social and poverty problems. The Chief Minister addressed a press conference to celebrate the first month of his government at the administrative staff college.
CM Himanta urged various welfare organizations including the minority student’s organization All-Assam Minority Students Union, the Badruddin Ajmal headed All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), & other non-political organization that represent the best interest of state’s Muslim community.
In his press briefing at Guwahati, the Assam Chief Minister said that his government wants to work with the Muslim community to control population. The BJP leader cited poverty as the root cause of the evil of issues such as poverty to be population explosion.
Population root cause of poverty, land encroachment
“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,”
Education programs for Muslim women to be introduced
He further added that the state government will be taking step aimed at population control and will work with the aforementioned groups – AAMSU & AIUDF – regarding the matter. Moreover, he informed that the state government will be bringing education programs among Muslim women and community and said that he hoped that the government is supported by the community in the initiative.
“We want community support to spread education among Muslim women. You cannot reduce poverty unless you control your population. I hope the community will respect the government’s stand on this and work towards this,”
At the outset, CM Himanta’s comment can be considered a step forward for women belonging in minority communities in a bid to curb the population. The comment also falls in line with the 2017 Population & Women Empowerment Policy that the Assam government had introduced. According to that policy, any person with more than 2 children will be barred from contesting any municipal, panchayat elections and will also be barred from getting government jobs.
It should also be noted that Muslims contribute to 34.2% of the entire population of Assam according to the last census. In the census prior to that, the population amounted to 28.4% of the total population. In the span of two decades, the compounded annual growth rate of the Muslim community has gotten down to 1.77% (1991-2001) to 1.57% (2001-2011).
New Law Regarding Cattle Smuggling
The CM also touched upon how illegal cattle smuggling is emerging as a problem in the state. To combat the problem, CM Himanta said that the assembly session will have a new law passed in it soon. According to the newly elected CM, the state’s existing laws don’t consider cattle transport as illegal and as a result of this, cattle from other states are transported through the state and then transported to Bangladesh through Meghalaya. As a result of this, CM Himanta said that a new legislation was due to be passed.
Speaking to the media, the Chief Minister said-
“In July, in the next assembly session, we will pass a law making transit of cattle through the state as illegal. With this new legislation, Assam will have to power to fight this menace. In the interim, we have stopped transit of cattle through an executive order. Since coming to power, we have been able to almost end this illegal trade.”