Muslims see marginal increase percentage-wise, Hindus decline: Census

Hindus 966.3 million (79.8 percent), Muslims 172.2 million (14.2 percent), Christians 27.8 million (2.3 percent), Sikhs 20.8 million (1.7 percent)


New Delhi (IANS): The Muslim population in India registered a marginal growth of less than a percent to reach 172.2 million in 2011, while the Hindu population also declined by roughly the same to touch 966.3 million, according to census data on religion released on Tuesday.
The data on population by religious communities of census 2011, released by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner, said Hindus constitute 79.8 percent and Muslims 14.2 percent of the population.
The overall growth rate of population from 2001 to 2011 was 17.7 percent, while community wise it was 24.6 percent for Muslims, 16.8 for Hindus, 15.5 percent for Christians, 8.4 for Sikhs, 6.1 percent for Buddhists and 5.4 percent for Jains.
The data was released almost four years after the census. Officials said the data is released once it is ready and some data pertaining to the census was yet to be released.
Parties such as Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and Janata Dal-United were demanding release of the caste census.
Of the total population of 1210.9 million [1.21 billion] in 2011, Hindus were 966.3 million (79.8 percent), Muslims 172.2 million (14.2 percent), Christians 27.8 million (2.3 percent), Sikhs 20.8 million (1.7 percent), Buddhists 8.4 million (0.7 percent), Jains 4.5 million (0.4 percent), other religions and persuasions (ORP) 7.9 million (0.7 percent).
The data showed that 2.9 million (0.2 percent) of the population had not stated their religion.
The press release said the proportion of Muslim population to total population in 2011 had increased by 0.8 percentage points while there had been no significant change in the proportion of Christians and Jains.
“The proportion of Hindu population to total population in 2011 has declined by 0.7 percentage points (PP), the proportion of Sikh population has declined by 0.2 PP and the Buddhist population has declined by 0.1 PP during the decade 2001-2011,” the release said.
Reacting to the release of data, JD-U leader K. C. Tyagi said census data on religion should have been released along with the caste data.
“What purpose would it serve? The government should come up with caste data as it would have helped the government work for the weaker sections of various castes,” he said.
Kamal Farooqui, former chairman of the Delhi Minorities Commission, said the data will help the government identify communities which are backward.
“This is a good policy of the government to release census data on the basis of religious communities. It will help the government identify religious communities which are economically backward. The government can take steps for their development,” Farooqui told IANS.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) spokesperson Surendra Jain said it was a “cause of concern that population of Muslims was increasing with such rate”, and family planning should be promoted among them.