Amid Assam government's crackdown on child marriages in the state, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that the ratio of arrests of Muslims and Hindus since the crackdown started has been 55:45.
He made the comment in the state Assembly in response to the vote of thanks on the governor’s speech in a bid to ward off “allegations of communal targeting” against his government by the opposition.
Referring to data from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 5, he said that it showed the rates of child marriage were the highest in the Muslim-majority districts of Dhubri and South Salmara, and not in Hindu-majority districts such Dibrugarh and Tinsukia.
Live: My speech on the Motion of thanks on the Hon'ble Governor's address from Assam Legislative Assembly, Dispur https://t.co/EkjI7uVubr— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) March 15, 2023
"...But because you communalise every single thing, I told the Dibrugarh SP to pick up a few from there as well. NFHS 4 data collated during Congress times also shows that the highest number of underage marriages and childbirths is done in Lower Assam districts [where there is a greater Muslim population],” he said.
He also claimed that the Muslim community was currently living in the "most peaceful atmosphere" ever in the state. “Today if someone honestly asks how many minority people in Assam have died of communal attacks, you people keep talking about encounters,” Sarma said.
"Are encounters something that gets done deliberately? Communal attacks are deliberate… If someone brings out their revolver, only then will the police bring out their revolver," he said.
While pointing out that no Muslim has been a victim of any communal violence in the state in recent times, he said that it is beyond anyone’s control if criminals killed in police action belonged to the community.
Justifying the crackdown on child marriages in Assam, the chief minister had earlier said that not a single such incident has taken place in the state in the last one month.
(With inputs from PTI)