The Muslim share in India’s population has grown faster than the rest between 2001 and 2011, the census on religious groups released by the Central government has revealed.
The data, collected four years ago, has also shown the proportion of Hindu population to the total population has declined 0.66 per cent as against the rise of the proportion of Muslim population by 0.79 per cent.
The proportion of the Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain population also saw a fall in the numbers during this period.
In 2011, of the total population of 121 crore, the Hindus numbered 96.62 crore while the Muslims had a population of 17.22 crore. In 2001, on the other hand, the Hindus and the Muslims numbered 82.75 crore and 13.81 crore, respectively (total population was 102 crore). The Hindus grew at 16.8 per cent during this time as against the Muslims’ growth by 24.6 per cent.
In 2011, the Christians accounted for 2.78 crore, Sikhs 2.08 crore, Buddhists 84 lakh, Jains 45 lakh, other religions and persuasions 75 lakh and religions not stated 29 lakh. That year, the Christians saw a decline from 2.34 per cent to 2.29 per cent, Sikhs from 1.87 per cent to 1.72 per cent, Buddhists from 0.77 per cent to 0.69 per cent and Jains from 0.41 per cent to 0.36 per cent.
The data showed only Muslims saw a rise in their proportion to the total population, from 13.43 per cent in 2001 to 14.22 per cent in 2011.
Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of the country, is home to the maximum number of Hindu (15.93 crore) and Muslim (3.84 crore) population. Maharashtra has the second highest number of Hindus (8.97 crore) followed by Bihar (8.6 crore). Undivided Andhra Pradesh (7.48 crore), Madhya Pradesh (6.6 crore), West Bengal (6.43 crore), Tamil Nadu (6.31 crore), Rajasthan (6.06 crore), Gujarat (5.35 crore) and Karnataka (5.13 crore).
Bengal ranks second in terms of Muslim population (2.46 crores), followed by Bihar (1.75 crores), Maharashtra (1.29 crores) and Assam (1.06 crores). National capital Delhi has 1.37 crore Hindus and 21.58 lakhs Muslims.
Over 45 per cent of Christians live in the sour South Indian states, including undivided Andhra Pradesh. Kerala tops the list with 61.41 lakhs Christians, followed by Tamil Nadu (44.18 lakhs), Karnataka (11.42 lakhs) and Andhra Pradesh (11.29 lakhs).
Punjab is home to most number of Sikhs (1.6 crore) followed by Haryana (12.43 lakhs). In terms of the Jain population, Maharashtra is first (14 lakh), followed by Rajasthan (6.2 lakhs), Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (both 5.67 lakhs).
The publication of the census on religion ahead of the crucial Bihar Assembly elections prompted critics to question its timing. The political circles recently witnessed a debate over the government’s not releasing the caste census details