On the backfoot after a lawmaker made a controversial statement about the need for Hindu women to produce at least four children each, the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has hit back saying women aren't baby-making factories.
The incendiary statement, despite a strict missive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reign them in, had come from Sakshi Maharaj, a BJP lawmaker from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said: "Hamaari maatayen factory nahin hain, bachcha paida karna vyaktigat nirnay hai," (our mothers are not baby-making factories. Having children is a personal decision) reported ABP News.
Bhagwat was addressing 300 Sangh delegates in Kanpur.
"How can I stop somebody from speaking? But one should think carefully before saying such things," Bhagwat was quoted by ABP as saying, obliquely referring to Sakshi Maharaj.
He also advocated the equal representation of women in politics.
Maharaj had told a gathering in Meerut: "The concept of four wives and 40 children will not work in India and the time has come when a Hindu woman must produce at least four children in order to protect Hindu religion."
As if that wasn’t enough, the MP went on to state that "a law will be passed in Parliament in which anyone indulging in cow slaughter and conversion will be punished with the death sentence," according to the report. 'Ghar Wapsi', or homecoming, the term used by far right groups to 're-convert' people from minority religions to Hinduism, is not conversion, he said.
The conversion issue rocked both houses of Parliament in December and the ruling BJP earned flak from all political parties for converting poor Muslim families to Hinduism.