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RSS backtracks after backlash, denies asking Hindus to procreate more

india Updated: Aug 22, 2016 21:28 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times
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RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had questioned what law forbade Hindus from having more children.(PTI FIle Photo)

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on Monday said it has not asked Hindus to procreate more, but that it is concerned about the “demographic imbalance” in the country.

The statement comes in the wake of a political backlash invoked by its chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement asking Hindus what law forbade them from having more children.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ideological mentor, the RSS also reiterated its demand for a “national population policy”. It asked the government to take cognizance of the “imbalance” in the numbers and expedite the process of drafting a policy that will take into account India’s future needs.

Read | Mohan Bhagwat’s Hindu population comment triggers row

Bhagwat’s statement, made in Agra over the weekend, came in response to a question on whether the country will turn into an Islamic nation, given the rate of growth of Muslims.

Parties such as the Congress, RJD, JDU and the AAP had criticised Bhagwat for making a statement on what was essentially a matter of individual choice.

“What he (Bhagwat) said was not to have more children. What he intended to say is that there should be a common law applicable to all,” Manmohan Vaidya, the all-India Prachar Pramukh of the Sangh told HT.

He said Bhagwat’s statement has elicited support from the NCP.

On whether the RSS has come up with suggestions for the national population policy that it demands, Vaidya said the government should seek views from “experts” on what the policy should be and how the demographic imbalance can be reversed.

Read | RSS chief Bhagwat says he is not a messenger of the govt

“We need a common national policy, applicable to all communities, (and) which takes into account the national resources and the future needs of the country. Population is not a burden, we must learn from China, we cannot have an aging population,” he said.

He declined to comment on whether the current two-child preference should be done away with.

The demand for a national policy was made in 2015, when the RSS at its annual meeting had passed a resolution expressing concern over “demographic imbalance”, which it said was reflected by the religious census.

The Sangh had also sought a total ban on “infiltration from across the border” and a national register of citizens to prevent people from acquiring citizenship rights and purchasing lands.