New Delhi, September 9: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi kicked off a fresh controversy by blaming the high illiteracy level among the Muslims for their growing population in the state.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate, the Chief Minister said Muslims are outnumbering Hindus in Assam not because of the increase in illegal migration from Bangladesh but because Muslims are illiterate and create more children.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
Karan Thapar: Assam may have grown at a lower rate than the nation as a whole, but within Assam the Muslim population in some districts has grown much faster than the Hindu’s.
Let me quote some of the figures. In Kokhrajhar, 19 per cent Muslim increase, 5 per cent Hindu, in Dubri 29 per cent Muslim increase, 5 per cent Hindu, in Bongaigaon 31 per cent Muslim increase, 2 per cent Hindu. Clearly this phenomenal increase in Muslim population can’t be for natural reasons, it has to be because of immigration.
Tarun Gogoi: It is because of low literacy, illiteracy. Illiteracy is there, most of the Muslims are illiterates. Every family has six, seven, eight, nine, 10 members. It is because of illiteracy.
Karan Thapar: You seriously are saying that the Muslims population is increasing because they are illiterate and creating more children than Hindus?
Tarun Gogoi: Ya.
Karan Thapar: You really mean that?
Tarun Gogoi: Yes, it is because of illiteracy.
Karan Thapar: This is a very controversial answer Chief Minister. People would say this tantamount to saying that the illiterate breed more.
Tarun Gogoi: Yes, 100 per cent I believe.