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Hindu radical leader calls for the forced sterilisation of Christians and Muslims

Deva Thakur is vice president of the Hindu Mahasabha party. According to John Dayal, some Hindus are gripped by "paranoia" since their numbers fell below 80 per cent of the population.

Christians and Muslims are a threat to Hindus and so “have to be forced to undergo sterilisation,” said Sadhvi Deva Thakur, vice president of the right-wing Hindu Mahasabha party.

Her comments raise the spectre of the Emergency declared under the regime of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975-77, during which her political opponents were imprisoned and a mass sterilization campaign aimed at controlling the growth in India’s population was carried out. While many responded to incentives offered by the government, others were coerced.

Ms Thakur also noted that Hindus should have more children to increase their population to counter the rise of Christians and Muslims.

The Hindu Mahasabha party backs a Hindu sectarian state and is not new to controversy. On 30 January, its national secretary, Puja Shakun Pandey, caused outrage when she posted a video in which she re-enacted the murder of Mahatma Gandhi, on the anniversary of his murder.

The Hindu leader’s words seem to point a real threat, but in fact India’s Christians and Muslims are minorities. Out of a total population of 1.4 billion, Christians number 27.8 million or 2.3 per cent; Muslims are 172.2 million or 14.2 per cent. Hinduism is the dominant religion with more than 966.3 million people or 79.8 per cent of the population.

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