A Christian leader has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to specially count “religious minorities” in the ongoing 2011 census just like the including ‘caste’ in the format.
Abraham Mathai, general secretary of the All India Christian Council (AICC), underlined the need for including religious minorities in the census, reported Christianitytoday.com
“If not included, this will certainly result in minority groups being swallowed up in a situation whereby the central and state government exchequers would not have made budgetary provisions to cater for their social and developmental needs,” Mathai said.
Mathai, who is also the vice president of Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, stressed that it is imperative to have a special column to categorize minority religious groups so it can prevent minority groups being in greater jeopardy at the hands of callous governments.
Census format has a column to mark the religion of each person and each census have tabulated the number of people following a particular religion in India. However, Mathai is wants the census count number of people who are a religious minority.
Not providing a special column, says Mathai, is tantamount to denying the existence of religious minorities in a country where religious intolerance is rife and gross violations on the rights of the minorities have been experienced.
Adding such a column, he said, would enable enumerators to provide accurate statistics to agencies such as the Planning Commission which then would result in adequate provisions in the respective central and state government budget allocations.
The current census began on April 1 and will count an estimated 1.2 billion population. This will be India’s 15th census since 1872. Home Minister P Chidambaram has described it as “the biggest exercise since humankind came into existence.
Caste will be included in the present census despite opposition from Hindu nationalist groups. The first census that categorized people’s caste was conducted in 1931 when the British ruled India.