CHURUMURI POLL: Are Muslims a minority?

A single-judge bench of the Allahabad High Court has ruled that, based on their “population and strength”, Muslims are not a minority in Uttar Pradesh. “Muslims [therefore] should not be entitled to benefits accruing on that account,” Justice S.N. Srivasatava has said.

According to the 2001 Census, Muslims account for 13.1 per cent of India’s population. Muslims comprise 67 per cent of the population in Jammu & Kashmir. In Assam, they form 31 per cent of the population; in West Bengal 25.2 per cent; in Kerala 24.7 per cent; and in Uttar Pradesh 18.5 per cent.

Questions: On purely numerical ground, do Muslims form a minority? Is numerical strength the right criterion to judge the status of a community? Or should we see how “politically deprived, educationally backward, economically poor, socially vilified” they are? Can the judgement help people like Narendra Modi‘s (“ham paanch, hamare pachchis“) to rake up the old bogey of the threat to “Hindu character”?