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Populations grow or degrow based on demographic factors and not on the benevolence or malevolence of a government, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said hours after Union minister Nirmala Sithraman said that the Muslim population would not be growing if their lives were difficult in the country.

“Populations grow or degrow based on demographic factors, not on the benevolence or malevolence of a government. However, assuming that the government has a role, then census after census show a decline in the growth of the Muslim population in India. Would that mean that the government is malevolent?” Owaisi said in a series of tweets countering the Union minister.

“Population growth or decline is not the only measure of treatment of minorities. In today’s India, genocidal dharam sansads are ignored by the government, ruling party MPs call for economic boycotts and ask people to keep “weapons”. Just one state of Maharashtra alone had 50 anti-Muslim hate rallies. The state looks away when Muslims face lynchings and violence. Instead, Muslims have to face bulldozers and false imprisonment from the government,” he added.

Slamming the finance minister for her remarks, Owaisi said: “For the finance minister of Vishwaguru, the benchmark is Pakistan! Muslims in India have flourished despite the sangh parivar’s anti-constitutional ideology, not because of it. For how long are Muslims going to be connected to Pakistan? We are not hostages or mascots against Pakistan. We’re citizens. We want to be treated with dignity and justice. If a section of Hindus demand better living standards, will you tell them to shut up because the majority of people in Somalia are doing worse?”

The AIMIM chief trained his guns on the BJP for not having any Muslim MP in the Lok Sabha from the party. “The ruling party does not have a single Muslim MP in the Lok Sabha. This is damning. But the BJP carries it as a badge of honour.”

“Every piece of government data points at the abysmal state of Muslim education. Muslims lag behind in education due to high poverty. It’s a cruel joke



that the finance minister mentioned fellowships when the government stopped Maulana Azad Fellowship and restricted the pre- and post-matric scholarships for poor minorities. The minority affairs’ budget has been slashed by 40%,” he said.

“In Karnataka, your party government has run a campaign opposing hijab, removing poor Muslims’ reservations in education and employment. Muslims’ businesses have been targeted by government policies and by mob rule.

“The FM says “law and order is a state issue” but the states where Muslims have faced the worst violence and discrimination are BJP-ruled. In non-BJP states, the main culprits of violence are all affiliates of the sangh parivar. This is not a petty “law and order” issue. You got angry and demanded Modi’s picture at some ration shop in Telangana. Anti-Muslim violence definitely deserves more of your attention than a picture of Modi,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Sitharaman responded to a question on 'violence against Muslims' in India and on ‘negative Western perceptions' of India and said: “India has the second-largest Muslim population in the world and that population is only growing in numbers. If there is a perception or in reality, their lives are difficult or made difficult by the support of the state, which is what is implied in most of these write-ups, will the Muslim population be growing than what it was in 1947 as opposed to Pakistan, which was formed at the same time?”

“Every minority has been dwindling in numbers or decimated in Pakistan. Even some of the Muslim sects have also been decimated there. Whereas, in India, you would find every strand of Muslim doing their business, their children being educated, given fellowships,” she said about the ‘negative Western perceptions’ of India.

“Come have a look at what's happening in India rather than listen to perceptions being built by people who have not even visited the ground and produce reports.”

Sitharaman was speaking at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) in Washington DC.
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