Hindu population reducing in India, minorities growing, says Rijiju

13 Feb 2017

Union minister kiren Rijiju today said Hindu population was reducing in India as they "never convert people", while minorities are flourishing unlike some other countries, in remarks that can stoke a controversy.

"Hindu population is reducing in India because Hindus never convert people. Minorities in India are flourishing unlike some countries around (sic)," Rijiju tweeted. The minister of state for home's comment came after the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee accused the Narendra Modi -led BJP government of trying to convert Arunachal Pradesh into a Hindu state. "Why is Congress making such irresponsible statements? People of Arunachal Pradesh are unitedly living peacefully with each other. "Congress should not make such provocative statements. India is a secular country. All religious groups enjoy freedom & living peacefully (sic)," he said in a series of tweets, responding to the APCC's charge. The Union minister hails from Arunachal Pradesh and is a practising Buddhist.

Reacting to his statement, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi said he should remember that he is a "minister of India for all Indians not for Hindus only". "Remember your oath as minister," the Hyderabad MP said. "What have the minorities India got to do with minorities of 'other' countries. It is Constitution which guarantees rights (sic)," he tweeted. According to the 2011 Census, Hindus make up India's 79.80 per cent of population, Muslims 14.23 per cent, Christians 2.30 per cent, Sikhs 1.72 per cent, Buddhists 0.70 per cent and Jains 0.37 per cent. The country's Hindu population as per the 2001 Census was 80.5 per cent, while that of Muslims was 13.4 per cent, Christians 2.3 per cent, Sikhs 1.9 per cent, Buddhists 0.80 per cent and Jains 0.4 per cent.

Congress today termed as "irresponsible" the Union minister's statement and said it is an attempt to garner electoral gains out of polarisation on religious lines. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the BJP was making such statements out of "desperation" as it was "losing" in the five states where assembly polls are being held. He also said the conduct of the MoS, home affairs, was "unbecoming" of a minister and that the intellectual quotient of NDA ministers was on the "decline".

"It is not surprising if the Prime Minister can use the national security as a prop. There is nothing which stops his Ministers from going a step further and trying to attempt a religious polarisation," he said.