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Union minister Ramdas Athawale bats for one-child norm

AHMEDABAD: Union social justice minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday said his party supports one-child policy as the population growth in the country needs to be controlled for ensuring development.

Asked about a recent remark of Gujarat deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel that people would be able to talk about Constitution and secularism only so long as Hindus are in majority, he said there was no possibility of Hindu population dwindling.

“I do not think there is any question of Hindu population declining. Hindus remain Hindu and Muslims remain Muslim. Hardly one or two Hindus or Muslims convert. The Constitution gives people the right to do what they like, but nobody can force any person to covert,” Athawale said, speaking to reporters here.

There would not be much change in the proportion of Hindus and Muslims in the population, he said, adding that “it is not the case that the population of Muslims has risen sharply in all these years”.

“There is a need to control the population for the development of the country, irrespective of whether it is the population of Hindus or Muslims,” said the Union minister, who heads the Republican Party of India (Athawale group), a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

“If we adopt one family, one child (policy), we would be able to reduce population. For now we have ‘hum do, hamare do’….Our party’s stand is that to reduce population, there should be a law for ‘hum do, hamara ek, (one family, one child),” Athawale said.

He will take up this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he added. Nitin Patel had recently said at a public event that “those talking about the Constitution, laws, secularism will continue to talk only as long as Hindus are in majority in this country… (if) the number of Hindus decreases, and (number of) people of another religion increase, there will be no courts, Lok Sabha, Constitution, secularism, they will all vanish in thin air.” Asked about several instances of Dalits facing intimidation for sporting moustache or riding a horse being reported in Gujarat, Athawale, a prominent Dalit leader from Maharashtra, said he will raise the issue with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

“It is true that the caste system continues to exist not only in Gujarat, but across the country. From the point of view of law it has ended, but it continues to exist in the minds of people,” he said. He will ask Rupani to take special measures for the protection of Dalits, he added.

Athawale also opined that reservation should be for those whose annual income is below Rs 8 lakh.

The BJP will win in four out of five states — Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa — where Assembly elections are due in coming months, the RPI chief said, making exception for Punjab where the saffron party’s alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal has ended.

“RPI will support the BJP in all these four states,” he added.

His ministry was working towards ending manual scavenging through a scheme to provide Rs 40,000 each to some 60,000 scavengers in the country, he informed.

Source: Press Trust of India

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