An Indian minister has called for families with more than two children to be stripped of voting rights, as a way to combat the country’s burgeoning population.
Expressing his concern over the alarming “population explosion” in India, junior agricultural minister Giriraj Singh suggested that couples with more than two children should be stripped of their electoral franchise.
The minister from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party made his comments on World Population Day in Delhi.
To back up his argument he shared a graphic on Twitter that showed India’s population had grown by a staggering 366 per cent between independence in 1947 and 2019, whereas the United States witnessed a rise of about 113 per cent.
Mr Singh has made controversial remarks in the past about population control, including suggesting some people should be forcibly sterilised.
He said: "Population explosion is disturbing the balance of economy, social harmony and resources in India.”
In what was seen as targeting Muslims and Christians, he added: “Religious obstacles are one of the main reasons for this.”
Mr Singh also warned that India could face “another Partition in the name of culture” unless all political parties joined hands to bring about a strong birth-control law.
He later spoke to television channels in Delhi about the distaste "certain communities" have for birth control measures.
"I hold the view that those having more than two children should be stripped of their voting rights. And this provision must be applicable to all communities.
“No exemption should be made for any religious group, just because its tenets disapprove of birth control measures," he said.
The BJP politician’s views were lambasted by the opposition in Bihar, the eastern state he hails from.
The opposing Janata Dal Party’s chief Ram Chandra Purbe said the minister was “playing petty politics” by blaming minorities for the country's population problem.
A Congress party councillor, Prem Chandra Mishra, said such ideas go against the grain of the country's secular nature.
"From where does Giriraj Singh get such fanciful ideas?
Can he point out any provision in the Constitution under which a person can be disenfranchised for having more than a specified number of children?", he said.