Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday said illiteracy among Muslims - and not infiltration from Bangladesh - as responsible for the community's high growth rate in his state.
"Most of them are illiterate. Every family...six, seven, eight, nine, ten," he told a TV channel.
Opposition parties in Assam have blamed the recent Bodo-Muslim clashes on the influx of Bangladeshis.
But Gogoi, in his TV interview, said: "The 2001 census shows that the growth of Muslim population in Assam is less than the national average. In the 2011 census too, the population growth in Assam is less than the national average. It's clear illegal immigration is on the decline."
National Commission for Minorities chairman Wajahat Habibullah said the statement was "inappropriate for a person of the rank of CM" no matter what data he was quoting.