Census data could create communal tension: Mani Shankar Aiyar

New Delhi: Warning that the Census data based on religion could create a communal tension, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Wednesday said that certain people may be planning to do “something big over 2 or 3 points”, referring to the population of certain communities.

According to the latest census data, the Muslim population has registered a 0.8 per cent growth to touch 17.22 crore in the 10 year period between 2001 and 2011, up from 13.8 crore, while the Hindu population showed a decline by 0.7 per cent at 96.63 crore during the period.

Addressing MLAs in Delhi Assembly, Aiyar said, “Yesterday, the results of Census 2011 came out in which it is shown that the Muslim population is increasing by some decimals and the population of Hindu is decreasing which may lead to communal violence.”

“I am hoping that the news of the Census is finished by tomorrow because it has no meaning. Neither will anyone be harmed nor any one will get any benefit through it.

“But, there are certain people among us whose identity has been taken by you and me. They may be planning to do something big over 2 or 3 points,” he said.

As per the latest census data, Assam and West Bengal have witnessed high growth rate of Muslim population while the proportion of Sikhs and Buddhists across the country declined and no significant change was witnessed in the case of Christians and Jains.

According to the 2011 Census, details of which were released yesterday, Hindu population counts for 96.63 crore (79.8 per cent), Muslim 17.22 crore (14.2 per cent), Christian 2.78 crore (2.3 per cent), Sikh 2.08 crore (1.7 per cent), Buddhist 0.84 crore (0.7 per cent), Jain 0.45 crore (0.4 per cent), Other Religions and Persuasions (ORP) 0.79 crore (0.7 per cent), Religion Not Stated 0.29 crore (0.2 per cent).

While the census figure on religion was released yesterday, more than four years after compilation of the data, the caste data is yet to be made public.