11/04/2015, 00.00
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Hindu paramilitary group calls for policy change to contain "harmful" minorities

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Rashtriya Sangh Swyamsevak adopts a motion calling on the Indian government to review national policies on population. In its view, the growing numbers of Muslims and Christians is creating a “demographic imbalance” that is threatening the “country’s integrity, unity and identity”. Census data show that Hindus are 79.8 per cent, Muslims 14.23 per cent, and Christians 2.3 per cent of the population. For Christian activist, extremists “are twisting the data to stir fears among Hindus about Muslims”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Hindu ultranationalist paramilitary group Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) has called on the Indian government to revise its national population policy to contain and counter the growth of Christians and Muslims, which is creating a "demographic imbalance "against Hindus.

For Sajan K George, president Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “Raising the Muslim bogey by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh is dangerous and divisive”. Extremists “are twisting the data to stir fears among Hindus about Muslims.”

RSS secretary Krishna Gopal spoke to the media after a meeting of his organisation in which a motion was adopted in favour of a change in government policy vis-à-vis “growing” religious minorities. This stems from the publication, at the end of August, of census data for 2011.

According to the Office of the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner, India’s population stood at 1,211 billion people in 2011. Overall, Hindus grew to 966.3 million but dipped below 80 per cent (79.8 per cent).  By contrast, Muslims grew at a faster pace than Hindus. Between 2001 and 2011, they saw their numbers go from 138 million to 172.2 million, from 13.43 per cent to 14.23 per cent, a net gain of 0.8 per cent.  Christians saw their numbers rise by 15.5 per cent, to 27.8 million, or 2.3 per cent of the total population. Sikhs are 1.7 per cent.

Speaking to the media, Gopal said the government has to change its policy and deal with the "problem of the demographic imbalance and the skewed ratio in births between religions."

In its motion, the RSS claims that “asymmetrical growth among religious groups, infiltration and conversion have led to the unbalance, especially in border regions”. This could “threaten the country’s unity, integrity and identity”.

For Sajan K George, the idea of a "demographic imbalance" by the “pro-Hindutva organisation is harmful”. Its only goal is to “sow divisions and suspicions against religious minorities”.

This latest statement by Hindu radicals comes after years of violent attacks against Muslims and Christians, a situation that has triggered a reaction among many intellectuals who have protested against such intolerance.

Christian clergymen are often arrested on false charges of forced conversions, whereas Hindu fundamentalists undertake Ghar Wapsi (coming home) conversions as one of the pillars of Hindutva, an ideology premised on the notion that "every Indian must be Hindu."

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