Controversy swirled around Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal's remark, which said "Hindus must bear five children in order to revive community's declining population in the country".
While addressing a news conference in central Bhopal, Singhal said that the population of Hindus was fast declining and if it continued at this pace, they would become a minority in India. He added that it was important not to let Muslims and Christians outdo their numbers by converting Hindus and by marrying the religion's girls. "Hindus should all have five children. I have been saying that going in every camp. And I feel this campaign will go on in the country," he said.
Defending the leader's remark, VHP spokesperson, Prakash Sharma, said that there was no problem with what the former said. "Is it only the burden of Hindus to take up the responsibility of family planning? One sect is producing as many children as possible without any restrictions and its population is increasing day in and day out. To stop it something has to be done and to make ourselves successful something has to be done so I don't see any problem in the statement," said Sharma.
Hindus make up around 80% of India's 1.2 billion population, while Muslims account for 13%.
Meanwhile, a ruling Congress party leader, Rashid Alvi, said Singhal's remark came from his worry about vote bank. "He doesn't want five children of Hindus; he is rather worried about the votes. They have this misimpression that Muslims produce more children and he wants to do a split voting between Hindus and Muslims. Today he is talking about five children; I hope that in the future he doesn't start talking about four wives," said Alvi.