The Government of India has not officially declared the religious data of the last Census 2011; however, participating in a meeting at the White House, India’s RN Ravi, Chief of Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) told that there were more than 180 million Muslims living in India as per the Census 2011 comprising 14.8% of the population of the country. Despite such a large population of Muslims, he revealed, there was hardly any case of a Muslim becoming an active member of any pan-Islamic group.
Ravi, representing India in Summit to Counter Violent Extremism at the White House last week, in which delegations from 60 countries participated, told that minorities in India were not alienated from the mainstream. As per the definition of minority, there were, he added, more than 260 million minority populations in India constituting more than 21% of the total population including 180 million Muslims. He asserted that terrorism faced by India had its source outside country’s borders. The release of data at an international forum is significant in the backdrop of Barack Obama; the US President’s visit to India where he pointed out that India would march ahead so long as it is able to stand united community wise.
The religious data of Census 2011 had not been released officially by the then UPA government due to various political considerations. The NDA government, also, has still not released these data. However, as per The Indian Express of 24th January, Hindus constituted 78.35% of the country’s total population of 121.05 crore in 2011 down from 80.45 % in 2001. On the other had, Muslim population increased in absolute terms from 13.8 crore in 2001 to 17.8 crore constituting 24.4% of the population. Muslims comprised 13.4% of the population in 2001.
Ravi also said to the delegation that in Jammu & Kashmir, a Muslim majority State of India, where 65% electorate participated in the peaceful electoral process is testimony to the Muslims’ involvement in the mainstream of the society. The response of India to acts of terror was balanced and devoid of excessive use of force, he added. Pakistan’s civil society representative, on the other hand, revealed that at least 26 terrorist outfits were actively operating in Pakistan including Lashkar-e-Toiba, Taliban, Jaish-e-Mohamma, and Haqqani network, to name a few. He also added that most of the terrorists had madarsa background.