In a potentially controversial statement, the Shiv Sena came out in support of forced sterilisation of Muslims in a bid to check their burgeoning population, here on Wednesday.
The party supported the recent call by All India Hindu Mahasabha vice-president Sadhvi Deva Thakur demanding forced 'nasbandi' (sterilisation) of Muslims and Christians to restrict their numbers in the country's population.
"What she meant was family planning...She should not have uttered the word 'nasbandi'. But family planning and population control are one and the same thing," the Sena said in an editorial in the party mouthpiece Saamana on Wednesday on the sensitive issue.
However, it lamented that in our country, such forced sterlisation cannot be carried out even on stray dogs who rule the streets, courtesy support from animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi.
Targetting All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi, the Sena said that if he is so concerned about the plight of the Muslim community, he must first come out in support of family planning and ban on burqas (veil) for women.
"When we raise the demand for performing 'nasbandi' -- sorry, family planning -- it is in the best interests of the country and the Muslim community... With family planning, they will be able to feed and educate the children and live better lives..." the Sena said.
The Sena dismissed Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan's statements that Muslims are poor so they produce more children, and then say poverty lures the Muslim youth to terrorism -- "they should be clear once and for all about what exactly are the community's problems and their increasing numbers."
However, the Sena acknowledged how some Muslims have voluntarily adopted family planning for their own betterment -- "It is not as if they incurred the wrath of Allah or that he crucified them... they are leading contented lives."
"We are wasting time engaging in a useless debate on 'nasbandi' versus 'family planning'... If nothing else, the Muslim leaders can at least sterilise ('do nasbandi') their communal ideology and save the country," the Sena urged.
This is the latest attack by the Shiv Sena on the Muslim community. Two days ago, the party kicked up a controversy by reportedly demanding disenfranchising Indian Muslims from the country's polity.
Following a nationwide furore, Saamana executive editor and MP Sanjay Raut has now claimed he was 'misquoted' as he had said "Muslims would not be used for political opportunism if they are not allowed to vote."