Deva Sadhvi Thakur, the vice president of the radical Hindu group “All India Hindu Mahasabha,” has launched a series of proposals to curb “threats to the Hindu population of the country,” including forced sterilization of members of minority religions and the installation of statues of Hindu gods and goddesses in churches and mosques.
Thakur has also proposed erecting a statue in Haryana honoring the “patriot” Nathuram Godse, a militant of the Hindu paramilitary group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.
In televised comments on April 11, Thakur stated: “The population of Muslims and Christians is growing day by day. To control this, the central government must declare a state of emergency and force Muslims and Christians to undergo sterilization, so that they can’t increase their numbers.”
She also urged Hindus to have more children in order to outgrow the populations of other religions in the world.
Sajan George, the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), has demanded that the woman be arrested for sedition and xenophobia. “These obstinate invectives of Hindu fringe extremists against minorities in India must be strongly condemned,” he said.
George said that Thakur “not only stains the secular Constitution of India, but insults the thousands of people who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of our nation.”
Thakur’s drastic proposals come at a particularly bad moment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who has been endeavoring to assure Indian citizens as well as the international community that he takes religious freedom seriously.
Addressing UNESCO in Paris on April 10, Modi declared that his government “will defend and protect the rights and liberty of every citizen. We will ensure that every citizen, of every faith, culture and creed has an equal place in our society.”
He also said the strength of the nation “is determined by the joined hands of every citizen, and real progress is measured through empowerment of the weakest.”
Sajan George accused the Prime Minister of hypocrisy and indifference to the plight of non-Hindus, calling his assurances “a facade to avoid condemnation by the international community.”
Other Hindus have also expressed their anger with Thakur, saying that with her “stupid comments,” she “gave all Hindus a bad name.”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome