GUWAHATI: After coming up with a two-child population policy, the BJP-ruled Assm will now constitute eight sub-groups to work towards stabilising the state’s population among others.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday met over 150 leading indigenous Muslim personalities from diverse fields and said they had all have agreed that population growth in some parts of the state is a threat to development.
After holding a meeting with the “indigenous” Assamese Muslim intelligentsia, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told journalists that the participants agreed the rising population posed a major threat to the state’s development.
"It has been agreed that the population explosion in some parts of Assam has posed a real threat to the development of Assam, more so in economic sense and if at all, we have to become among the five (most progressive) states, then we have to manage our population explosion,” Sarma said.
He said the participants laid thrust on the formation of the sub-groups to achieve the goal. They will work in sectors such as health, education, population stabilisation, cultural identity, financial inclusion, women empowerment, skill development etc.
“The entire range of issues will be discussed in the sub-groups. After three months, we will be here again to prepare a roadmap for the next five years,” Sarma said.
He said in the next two to three days, he would meet the leaders of migrant Muslims, who trace their roots to East Bengal (present day Bangladesh). He said he would also meet the representatives of political parties besides leaders of social and students’ organisations. He said the government would conduct a series of meetings in the next two to three months on population management.
According to him, there is a distinct cultural difference between the migrant Muslims and the indigenous Assamese Muslims, who have a 600-year-old history.
“We discussed various issues confronting the religious minority communities of Assam, particularly the indigenous Assamese Muslims. They have a distinct identity and a rich cultural tradition and heritage. The meeting emphasised that the uniqueness of indigenous Assamese Muslims should be protected and preserved,” Sarma said.
This was the Assam government’s first ever meeting with the leaders of indigenous Muslim communities since independence.