'Indigenous Muslims Agree Population Explosion Is A Threat To Development Of Assam': CM Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday stated that population explosion should be checked if Assam has to become one of the top five states in the country, reports Indian Express.
Sarma held an interactive meeting with intellectuals and leading citizens of the Muslim community on Sunday (4 July) and addressed a press conference at Guwahati after the interaction.
“We discussed a number of issues confronting the indigenous minority community and it was agreed that the population explosion in some parts of Assam has caused a real threat for the development of Assam, more particularly in the economic sense,” said Sarma.
Sarma also stated that the Assam government would form eight sub-groups with representatives of indigenous Muslim community to deliberate on issues such as health, education, skill development, preservation of cultural identity, financial inclusion and empowerment of women.
Around 150 Muslim intellectuals and leading citizens of the community from eastern and central Assam took part in Sunday's meeting titled 'Alaap-Alochana: Empowering the Religious Minorities'.
Sarma said that he would hold similar such meetings soon with the intellectuals and prominent citizens of the Muslim community belonging to southern and western Assam as the culture and other religious patterns are dissimilar among Muslims of Assam's different regions.
Minister of Minority Welfare Chandra Mohan Patowary, Education Minister Ranoj Pegu and MLA and Political Secretary to the Chief Minister, Jayanta Malla Baruah were also present in the meeting held at the Assam Administrative Staff College in Guwahati.
In a series of statements and speeches after taking over as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam on May 10, Sarma had said that his government would take specific policy measures to decelerate the growth of the minority Muslim population with the aim to eradicate poverty and illiteracy.
"Assam has been able to maintain its annual population growth at 1.6 per cent, but it is found in the 2001 and 2011 Census that the Muslim population is growing at a rate of 29 per cent (decadal). In contrast, Hindu population has come down from 22 per cent to 16 per cent and further reduced to 10 per cent during the latest censuses," the Chief Minister had said.
Sarma further said that he would soon meet members of the Bengali-origin Muslim community of Assam for similar discussions. “There is a distinct cultural difference… in language, in culture… between both the communities. We respect both the identities,” he said.
Notably, Muslim votes are a determining factor in at least 30 to 35 seats out of Assam's total 126 Assembly seats. Of Assam's 34 districts, 19 districts have 12 per cent or more Muslim population and in six districts (out of these 19 districts) the Muslim population constitutes 50 per cent or more.
With IANS Inputs
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