India’s Amit Upadhyay, a pharmacist by profession, has taken to social media to claim that India is being turned into an Islamic state in terms of population while spreading false statistics about population.
According to the French news agency AFP, Amit says that “in India, their Muslim neighbours are having too many children, so it is the responsibility of Hindu women to pay attention to this.”
Amit Upadhyay is one of the many social media activists belonging to India’s majority religion and regularly publishes Islamophobic posts on his social media account, which has nearly 40,000 followers.
Last month, he warned by a post on social media about an alleged plot by Muslims to multiply their population and take over India.
He said that “instead of celebrating the announcement last month that India has overtaken China in terms of population, we should think about it.”
“I tell to my Hindu followers on my social media account to have more children and fight Muslims, or they will become a threat and eventually wipe out Hinduism from India.”
According to the latest statistics, India has a population of 1.4 billion, including about 21 million Muslims, but the birth rate has declined in recent decades.
The country’s last National Family Health Survey in 2021 showed the two-child birth rate had risen marginally to 2.3 for Muslim women.
A report this year by the Pew Research Centre revealed that India’s Muslim community will grow to 31.1 million by 2050.
However, according to the estimates of the US-based think tank, despite this increasing proportion in the Indian population, Muslims will remain a minority in the country of 1.7 billion people by the middle of the century.
Despite all these statistics, there is no stopping the spread of viral misinformation on Facebook, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms claiming that India will soon become a Muslim-majority country.
One Facebook post sarcastically welcomed the news that India’s population had overtaken China’s thanks to Muslims having 5 to 10 children.
Another post on Twitter said that the Hindu faith will soon disappear from India as the Muslim majority replaces the country’s constitution with “Islamic law.”
Conspiracy theories that accuse Muslims of conspiring to secure the faith’s numerical supremacy in India have been central to Hindu nationalist ideologies for years.
Similar ideas of ‘conversion’ for immigrant and minority majority populations have been embraced by the far right in other countries.
Earlier, BJP lawmaker Rakesh Sinha introduced a population control bill in Parliament in 2019 that proposed limiting all Indian families to two children. The bill was supported by 125 MPs.
The bill was withdrawn after critics accused Rakesh Sinha of targeting Muslims when he spoke about the stark disparity between Hindu and Muslim birth rates, a charge he later denied.
The United Nations’ announcement last month that India is now home to more people than any other country in the world has bolstered these claims.
In this context, Ishwar Lal, a member of the Hindu nationalist group affiliated with the BJP, said in a public speech that Hindus will marry once and have two children, while Muslims will marry four times and have so many children that they can create their own cricket teams.
India’s former election chief, SY Qureshi, has said that the claim that Muslims will soon become the majority religion in India is just the propaganda of Hindu nationalists based on the widespread misinformation about the Muslim birth rate in the country.
SY Qureshi says that “in order to induce Hindus to have more children, the fear is being created that the number of Muslims will exceed Hindus when this is not possible.”