Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma touched a raw nerve today saying “social menaces” like land encroachment can be solved if the immigrant Muslims follow a family planning norm and control their population.
The Bengali-speaking Muslims of central and lower Assam are considered immigrant Muslims from Bangladesh. In the last assembly polls, the BJP’s narrative has been to protect the indigenous communities of Assam against them.
Immigrant Muslims comprise around 31 per cent of Assam’s 3.12 crore population and are a deciding factor in as many as 35 of the 126 assembly seats.
“We have already enacted a population policy in the last assembly session. But particularly we want to work with the minority Muslim community to reduce the population burden. Social menaces like poverty, land encroachment, have their root in the population explosion. If we can control the population, we can solve several social problems… if the immigrant Muslims can adopt a decent family norms — this is my appeal to them,” he added.
Encroachment cannot be allowed on forest and temple lands, the Chief Minister said.
“But I understand that it is due to high growth of population. I understand the pressure on the other side. Where will the people stay?” Mr Sarma said, adding he would like to work on this issue with all the stakeholders, including organizations like Badruddin Ajmal’s party AIUDF and the All Assam Minority Students’ Union or AAMSU.
“If the population explosion continues, one day even the Kamakhya temple land will be encroached upon, even my house will be,” he added.