India’s Christians ask their Central government for census figures.

By September 23, 2003

India (MNN/AICC)–The Christian community has asked the Central government to make public the latest census figures on religious communities in India to prove the claim of certain outfits that there have been large-scale conversions to Christianity.

The community says if the government delays in releasing information on the percentage of religious groups and their growth during the last decade, it would approach the Supreme Court to enforce its demand.

The Census Department in Mumbai said it is still in the process of tabulating the data on religious groups collected in the 2001 census. “We have just published preliminary data on total population at district, taluk and town level. It will take another one year to publish figures on religious groups. The information on castes will be available even later, maybe after two to four years,” a spokesperson said.

The Christian community has however alleged the figures were not being revealed because it goes against the claim of organisations supporting the government that missionaries are indulging in largescale conversion to Christianity.

All India Christian Council (AICU) made the demand at its annual general meeting at Chennai last week.

National secretary of AICC, Dolphy D’Souza, who attended the meet said though the latest census was completed in February 2001, the government is yet to reveal data on religious groups and their growth during the last decade. “The government is reluctant to release data because it runs contrary to its propaganda about conversions. If the figures are released, the government’s lie about large scale conversions will fall apart,” he said.

According to decenial census figures, though the number of Christians has been growing in absolute numbers, their proportion in the total population has been falling continuously.

In 1971, the community formed 2.6 per cent of the Indian population. The figure dropped to 2.4 per cent in 1981 and declined further to 2.34 per cent in the 1991 census. If the trend continues, the figure for 2001 should have dropped further.

AICC estimates the percentage must have fallen further in the 2001 census. Between 1981 and 1991, the community grew by 16.89 per cent when the country’s population as a whole grew by 22.1 per cent.

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