Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said that the two-child policy is the only way to eradicate poverty and illiteracy among the Muslim minority in his state. He said organizations working in the community welcomed his proposal to adopt good standards for family planning, including such a policy.
“There is no resistance from the Muslim people. Two factions of the Assam Minority Students Union met twice in the last month and openly welcomed (the two children’s proposal), saying that Assam Muslims need measures to control the population.” Mr. Sarma told the media in Guwahati today.
“I meet many Muslim intellectuals in July and I am sure that they will support the policies of the state government because this is the only way in which poverty and illiteracy can be eradicated from Muslim minorities in Assam.”
He said he invited 150 Muslim intellectuals to meet him on 4 July. He also plans to have extensive discussions with the various social and political organizations that represent the community.
Mr Sarma had announced a few days ago that there would be a gradual implementation of the two-child policy in state-run social welfare programmes. His government may introduce new legislation during the state assembly’s next budget session in July to implement it. Official sources had indicated earlier that the law could make only those who have up to two children eligible for government jobs and sponsorship programs.
The proposal and the discourse surrounding it are seen as targeting the state’s Muslim population of Bangladeshi origin. In the last two assembly polls won by the BJP, the party relied heavily on the narrative that it has to protect indigenous communities in Assam against illegal immigrants.