Muslim population: Twitter clash between Owaisi & Smriti Irani on ‘semantics’

Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha on Thursday that the Muslim population in India is estimated to be 19.7 crores by 2023.

A Twitter clash broke out between AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and Union minority affairs minister Smriti Irani on Friday over the statistics of the Muslim population in India.

Citing a news report on Smriti Irani’s reply to a question on the population of Muslims in India, in Lok Sabha, Owaisi remarked that even though the Union minister said that the Muslim population ‘won’t exceed 20 crore’, right- wing groups, who he termed as ‘Shakhaputra Sanghis’, believe that India will be a Muslim majority in a few years, and this “evil propaganda demonises Muslims”.

“If they don’t understand basic maths, I hope they atleast believe @narendramodi’s govt,” he said.

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Irani responded to the Hyderabad MP’s tweet correcting him that the newspaper article doesn’t say ‘won’t exceed’ anywhere.

“Sir kindly check the report you have used in the image ; it does not use the phrase ‘won’t exceed ‘. I’m sure you don’t want to mislead,” she tweeted.

Responding further, Owaisi said that the minister’s report says that the Muslim population is 19.7 cr in 2023 “obviously means that it hasn’t exceeded 20 cr. “The math remains the same, I’m sure you don’t want to quibble over mere semantics,” he remarked, adding pictures of several other media reports on the subject.

Smriti Irani told Lok Sabha on Thursday that the Muslim population in India is estimated to be 19.7 crores by 2023.

According to the 2011 census, the Muslim community accounted for 14.2 percent of the total population and according to Labour Force Survey (PLFS) data, the literacy rate among Muslims aged seven years and above was 77.7 percent, while the labour force participation rate stood at 35.1 percent.

Replying to questions asked by Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Mala Roy in LS, Smriti Irani said, “With the country’s projected population in 2023 expected to be 138.8 crores, the government arrived at the estimated Muslim population figure of 19.7 crore using the same 14.2 percent proportion.”

Informing about various socio-economic indicators for the Muslim community, the minister further stated that according to the PLFS conducted by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation (MoSPI) in 2021-22, 94.9 percent of Muslims reported having an improved source of drinking water, while 97.2 percent reported access to an improved toilet facilities.

“Furthermore, 50.2 percent of Muslim households had purchased or constructed new houses or flats for the first time after March 31, 2014,” said Smriti Irani.

Mala Roy in the session also inquired about the socio-economic status of Pasmanda Muslims. However, her reply did not include specific information on that part.

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