The Assam government had last Tuesday decided to implement its own ‘two-child policy’ under which people with more than two children will not be eligible for government jobs after January 1, 2021. With India grappling with rapid population explosion since the turn of century, such step was a welcome one and something to be abided by wholly but All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal on Saturday made a controversial statement on the matter. With a bold streak of defiance, Ajmal said, “Muslims will continue to produce children, they will not listen to anyone.”
Ajmal, whose AIUDF has 13 members in the Assam Assembly went on to say “Islam doesn’t believe in the concept of having only two children. No one can stop people who are bound to come into this world.” according to a TOI report. The BJP-led government in Assam that came to power in 2016 had initiated the draft population policy on March 27, 2017. The population of Assam stood at 31,169,272 according to the 2011 census with the state registering a massive 16.93 per cent growth in 10 years and therefore it was necessary to bring in a measure that could cull this growth.
However, the leader raised eyebrows when he said “Whatever laws you make, they will have no impact on the Muslims. Tampering with nature is not good. Muslims will do whatever they want to bear children. Don’t shout later that we have more children. Don’t fight with nature.”
Ajmal made the decision sound as if it was announced especially for Muslims and to steal opportunities from them as he went on with his rhetoric “Muslims will continue to produce children, they will not listen to anyone. Now, the government has brought this law to stop Muslims from having jobs. According to the Sachar committee, below 2 per cent Muslims get government jobs. Literate people are now increasing among the Muslim community and they are working across the world,” he said.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was also quick to hit back at the AIUDF chief by questioning if his wife also agreed with his point of view “Does his wife or wives also agree on producing 7-8 children each? Women’s opinion also matters because they to go through nine months of pain and anxiety,” said Swamy, taking a potshot at Ajmal.
The 126-member Assam assembly in September 2017 had passed a resolution adopting the ‘Population and Women Empowerment Policy of Assam’. According to the policy, the state government proposed to bar anyone with more than two children from contesting municipal and panchayat elections, getting government jobs and other benefits.
Ajmal, a billionaire perfume baron turned politician has started with his politics of polarisation by giving it a communal twist over an issue that is of extreme national importance. The demon of overpopulation can hinder any country’s progress as the resources start getting scarce and opportunities for a sustainable community diminish. Therefore when a government tries to bring such bold reforms, leaders like Ajmal who are already at the fringes of state politics try to stir the pot of controversy unnecessarily to stay relevant and try to malign the whole of the Muslim community.