The Shiv Sena on Friday referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech to attack the Muslim community. In an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece Saamana, it asked when will the community understand how a “small family and national interest are beneficial?”

On Thursday, Modi spoke of the problem posed by “population explosion” for coming generations, and said the Centre and states should take measures to deal with it. “There is a need to have greater discussion and awareness on population explosion,” he had said. “Before a child is born in our home, we must ask if we have prepared ourselves to fulfil the child’s needs, or are we going to leave the child to its fate?”

The Shiv Sena asked if the Muslim community will pay heed to the prime minister’s message. “The pace of growth and development will expedite with smaller families, the Prime Minister said,” said the party. “What he says is correct, but there is a big section of the society that is not concerned about the size of the family and population explosion, and its ill-effects. Here, some fanatical Muslims are not ready to come out of the mindset of ‘Hum Do, Humare Pachhis’.”

This is not the first time the Bharatiya Janata Party ally has espoused such opinions. In December 2018, it called for immediate and stringent measures, including compulsory sterilisation, to control the Muslim population. In 2015, the party had claimed that the increasing population of Muslims in the country will cause language and geographical imbalance.