Muslim population rose by 24% between 2001 and 2011: Census
NEW DELHI, JANUARY 22
Muslim population in India has grown by 24% between 2001 and 2011 against national average of 18% with the community’s representation rising to 14.2% from 13.4% of total population. Among all states in the country, Jammu and Kashmir has the highest Muslim population (68.3%), followed by Assam (34.2%) and West Bengal (27%), according to the census data on the population of religious groups.
The growth rate of Muslim population in the country was around 29% between 1991 and 2001. At 24%, the growth rate of Muslim population is higher than the national average of 18% for the decade (2001-11).
The most rapid rise in the share of Muslims in the total population was witnessed in Assam. Muslims constituted 30.9% of the state’s population in 2001 and it has risen to 34.2% a decade later. Assam has been facing the problem of illegal immigration from Bangladeshi for last three decades.
A home ministry spokesperson said the data is still being compiled by the Registrar General of Census and will be released officially shortly.
Manipur is the only state where the percentage of their population has decreased — from 8.8% to 8.4%.
West Bengal, another state where illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been an issue, has also seen a rise in Muslim population from 25.2% in 2001 to 27% in 2011. It is a growth of 1.8% points, more that double the national average for Muslim population (.8%).
Uttarakhand has also seen rise in the share of Muslim population from 11.9% to 13.9%, a growth of 2% points, between 2001 and 2011.
Other states with a significant rise in the share of Muslims in the total population as per the 2011 census were Kerala (from 24.7% to 26.6%), Goa (6.8% to 8.4%), Jammu and Kashmir (67% to 68.3%), Haryana (5.8% to 7%) and Delhi (11.7% to 12.9%).
The Registrar General and Census Commissioner, under the home ministry, had compiled the data by March 2014, but the previous UPA government held back the release.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said on Wednesday the data could be released soon. Among the Union Territories, Lakshadweep has the highest Muslim population — 96.2%.
Such statistics, experts said, is released within three years of data collection and being 2015, that time-limit has already been exceeded.
The last time religion-based data was released in the country was in 2004, which was a record of figures till 2001.
VHP reacts to Census: We will ask Hindus to reproduce more
Even though the data on religion-based census is yet to be released officially, right wing Hindu groups are already up in arms over the TOI report showing 24% growth in Muslims between 2001 and 2011.
VHP said its stand has been vindicated and it would make fresh appeal to Hindus to reproduce more. It would also begin an agitation in the country to press government to enforce uniform civil code. Muslim scholars have, however, countered this fear-mongering by saying that the high growth rate of Muslims is owing to their poor socio-economic status which stands with those of Dalits and the resultant lack of education.
They say the census report should wake up the government on the poor state of Muslims in the country and prod them into doing something about it. VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain told TOI, “What we have been saying since 1966, has been vindicated by this census. We will put pressure on the government to enforce uniform civil code. We will push for making family planning mandatory for all. Muslims are trying to overtake Hindu population through various ways such as infiltration and love jihad apart from reproduction. So Hindu’s reproducing more is a good option to challenge this. This call is already being made.” However, when pointed out that the Muslim growth rate has actually been decreasing decade after decade, Jain called it “statistical jugglery” which could not take away from the fact that Muslims were growing faster than Hindus.
“It does not mean that they will not attack us. The basic fact of the matter is that they have grown from 13.4% of India’s population to 14.2%,” Jain said.
He also warned that if Muslims kept growing at this rate they would demand a separate nation. “During 1941, the Muslim population in the country was just 18% and they demanded a separate nation. If their growth continues at this pace, another Jinnah will stand up and demand division of the nation,” said Jain.
President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat Dr Zafar-ul-Islam Khan said, “It has been proven through various studies that people of a certain strata of society, irrespective of their faith, have similar social behaviour which is reflected in their growth rate. Rich and educated Muslims too have as few children as rich and educated people of other faith. It has been revealed in the Sachar committee report and pretty fairly visible in the country that Muslims fair poorer than even Dalits on various indices of socio-economic well-being such as education and employment.”
To illustrate his point, Islam gave the example of his own colony. “Government benefits do not reach Muslims. There are no schools in their colony. I stay in Abu Fazal Enclave, where you will find well-to-do Muslims living. There is a police station here but no school. There is not even a milk booth here.”
Blaming it on politics of religion perpetrated by parties of all hues, Islam said, “It is sad that citizens of this country are not being viewed as people but Hindu and Muslim.”