India: Hindu extremist leader says Christians and Muslims should be forcibly sterilized

(Photo: REUTERS / Anindito Mukherjee)

The outlook continues to look bleak for India's Christians as one Hindu extremist leader made the call for them to have forced sterilization.

Sadhvi Deva Thakur, the vice president of nationalist group All India Hindu Mahasabha, made the alarming call on Saturday, according to India Today.

The Hindu Mahasabha leader argued that Christians and Muslims should be made to undergo sterilization in order to control their population, which she regards as a threat to Hindus. 

She further asserted that idols of Hindu gods and goddesses should be placed in churches and mosques, and that Hindus increase their population by having more children. 

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"The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To rein in this, Centre will have to impose emergency, and Muslims and Christians will have to be forced to undergo sterilisation so that they can't increase their numbers," she said.  

The comments have been met with outcry by religious minorities in India, who have been on their guard since the ascendency of Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party, which has ties to Hindu nationalists.

President Sajan George, of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told the Fides news agency that Thakur should be "arrested for sedition and xenophobia". 

He dismissed her call as "nonsense" and urged Modi to take action.

"The statements are an insult to secular India and also to religious freedom in the nation", he said.

"These attacks on minorities are anti-constitutional. We ask the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, to intervene and ensure the safety of all citizens and all the communities that make up the Indian society."

Modi has attempted to allay the fears of Christians and other religious minorities in India following his appointment as Prime Minister. 

After a wave of attacks on churches, Modi pledged in February to protect all religious minority groups in India. 

"The world is increasingly witnessing division on the basis of religion. My government will ensure that there is complete freedom of faith and that everyone has undeniable rights to retain the religion of his or her choice," he said in a speech that made international headlines.

"I appeal to all religious groups to act with restraint."

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