Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday stoked a controversy when he said Hindu population was reducing in India as they “never convert people” while minorities are flourishing, unlike in some other countries. “Hindu population is reducing in India because Hindus never convert people. Minorities in India are flourishing unlike some countries around,” the Minister of State, Home, tweeted. Rijiju later clarified that his tweets were in response to Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee’s statements accusing the Narendra Modi government of trying to convert Arunachal Pradesh into a Hindu state.
“Why is Congress making such irresponsible statements? People of Arunachal Pradesh are unitedly living peacefully with each other… Congress should not make such provocative statements. India is a secular country. All religious groups enjoy freedom & living peacefully,” he said in a series of tweets, responding to the Arunachal Pradesh Congress unit’s allegations. Rijiju hails from Arunachal Pradesh and is a Buddhist.
Reacting to his statement, Congress said his statement was not limited to Arunachal Pradesh. “If you read that tweet, the intent is implicit in it. But the fact remains that when a Minister of the Union makes such an irresponsible statement, he must be held to account,” said party spokesperson Manish Tewari. He said the 2011 Census shows that Hindus comprise 79.80 per cent of the population while Muslims make up 14.23 per cent.
Tewari said that according to the Census, the Hindu population growth rate slowed down to 16.76 per cent from the 19.92 per cent from the previous decade while that of Muslims witnessed a sharp fall in growth rate to 24.60 per cent from 29.52 per cent. “The fact is, does the MoS, Home, have any empirical data beyond the 2011 Census for making such an irresponsible statement? Suddenly, one fine day you wake up in the morning and shoot from the hip. This is not the conduct which is becoming of a minister. The only thing which seems to be decreasing is the intellectual quotient of the NDA/BJP ministers,” he added.