Police register case, EC seeks report on Sakshi Maharaj's remarks




New Delhi : The Election Commission on Saturday sought a report from the Uttar Pradesh administration while police registered a case against BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj for his speech in which he allegedly blamed the Muslims for India's population boom.

The Unnao MP's speech at a religious gathering at Meerut in the poll-bound state attracted widespread condemnation while his own party distanced itself from his remarks.

"Cognisance has been taken about the remarks made by him at Augarnath temple. The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has sought a report," Meerut District Magistrate B. Chandrakala said adding that police have also registered a case against the leader.

Addressing a gathering of seers on Friday, the controversial Bharatiya Janata Party leader called for implementing the Uniform Civil Code and indirectly held the Muslims responsible for the population explosion.

"Population is rising rapidly, and so are the country's problems. But Hindus are not responsible for this. Those who talk about four wives and 40 children are responsible," he said.

"Remember, if Hindus number decreases, the country will be divided," said the MP, days after the Supreme Court declared that appealing for votes in the name of religion was "illegal".

"I said four wives and 40 children will not be allowed, cannot be allowed. Mothers are not machines," he said, calling for equal laws for all, irrespective of the number of children a person has.

While the opposition Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party and the state's ruling Samajwadi Party demanded stringent action, Sakshi Maharaj appeared unfazed and sought to defend the remarks.

"I did not make any communal speech. It was a gathering of saints, during which I expressed concern about population explosion. My speech has been videotaped and nowhere have I named any community," Sakshi Maharaj told IANS.

"I said mothers -- irrespective of their community -- should be respected and not treated like a child-producing machine," he said and blamed the media for quoting him "out of context".

Courting controversy in the past for making inflammatory speeches, Sakshi Maharaj failed to find endorsement from his own party.

"This shouldn't be seen as the party's (BJP) stand," Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here when asked by the media to react to the controversial remarks.

In January 2015, the self-proclaimed saint had asked Hindu women to produce at least four children each to "protect the religion".