Shiv Sena Suggests 'Family Planning' for Muslims, Christians in New Controversy

The editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna advocates smaller families for Muslims to stay 'happy and healthy'

Mumbai:

Days after it published a controversial column on voting rights for Muslims, Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna has featured a provocative editorial claiming minorities needed to adhere to family planning as the "growing population of Muslims and Christians has become a threat to Hindus."

It objects to the word "sterilisation" or "nasbandi" and says it prefers "family planning," backing similar comments made to much outrage by Sadhvi Deva Thakur, a leader of right-wing organisation Hindu Mahasabha recently.

The Sadhvi had called for an "emergency" to force "Muslims and Christians to undergo sterilisation (nasbandi) so that they can't increase their numbers."

"What she meant was family planning...She should not have uttered the word 'nasbandi'. But family planning and population control are one and the same thing," the Sena said in its editorial today, adding "even stray dogs cannot be sterilized forcefully, as Maneka Gandhi is standing up for them. But stray dogs later bite people."

It advocates smaller families for Muslims to stay "happy and healthy,"  saying, "When we raise the demand for performing 'nasbandi' - sorry, family planning - it is in the best interests of the country and the Muslim community... With family planning, they will be able to feed and educate the children and live better lives..."

The Sena has slammed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan for his recent statement that Muslims are poor so they produce more children. "We are wasting time engaging in a useless debate on 'nasbandi' versus 'family planning'... If nothing else, the Muslim leaders can at least sterilise their communal ideology and save the country," it writes.

On Sunday, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut sparked a major controversy by saying in a column that Muslims in the country were being used for vote bank politics and that revoking their voting rights would solve their problems.

As nation-wide criticism poured in, Mr Raut, who is Saamana's executive editor and a member of Parliament, alleged he was "misunderstood."