Indian Christian leaders jointly rebuked the recent statement made by the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) that urged Hindu women to reproduce more to keep the religion strong.
According to the leading daily Dubai-based Khaleej Times newspaper, RSS chief Kupahalli Sudershan made a controversial statement at the Nov. 17 launch of a newly updated "Religious Demography of India" report.
"Forget the two-child norm. Produce three at the very least; more than that are more than welcome," he was quoted as saying.
Compiled by the Chennai-based social science institute Center for Policy Research and Studies, the "Religious Demography of India" report was released originally in 2003 by then-Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, but has now been updated with figures going as far back as the 2001 census, sources say.
Based on the statistics, Sudershan claimed that "the growth in Muslim and Christian populations have reduced majority Hindus to a pathetic minority" at the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast and West Bengal, according to Khaleej Times.
The RSS chief therefore proposed to increase Hindu birth rate in a bid to "remove demographic imbalances" and to maintain "the dominated Hindu presence in India."
John Dayal, secretary-general of the All India Christian Council and president of All India Catholic Union, responded to Sudershans comment in a press statement obtained by AsiaNews.
Dayal described the proposal of "advocating 11 or 12 children per family to sustain their religious majority in India" had gone beyond "the bizarre and the irrational." He also added that it was a racist statement based on Hitlers pure race concepts," according to the AsiaNews.
In addition, Dayal expressed strong outcry over the RSSs discrimination against Indian Hindu women, saying that not only are they "victims of child rape in the guise of traditional marriage" but they are also now presented as "a political womb at the service of a maniacal ideology and its demonic hatred towards other communities," AsiaNews reported.
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), also echoed the strong condemnation against RSS.
"The latest direction to Hindu women to procreate more to keep up the majority against Christians and other minorities in India is a deliberate attempt to talibanize Indian society on communal lines," George said, according to the statement obtained by the Pakistan Christian Post.
In the statement, GCIC argued the statistical data in the religious demography report showing a growing majority of Christians in north-east India was a "false extrapolation."
"On Christians, the 2001 census once again established that the percentage of the Christian population in India is steadily declining because of the norm of one or two children per family, even among the poor and in rural areas," the statement said.
GCIC is now joining with the civil society to "demand an unconditional apology for his remarks against Christians" and to "urge the Government of India to [hold] Sudersanji and his likes responsible for disturbances in North east on account of feeling of alienation and insult," it concluded.