by R K Ohri
India faces a major demographic upheaval. The sharply rising Muslim numbers, both in absolute and percentage terms, and a corresponding decline in the population of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists has the potential to escalate fault-line conflicts and create a Lebanon-like situation. Data from the last six censuses held since 1951 suggests that in percentage terms there has been a relentless increase in the population of only one community, the Muslims; all other communities are in a declining mode. Since 1981, Muslim population growth has been in a fast forward mode, growing at almost 45% higher rate than Hindus and Christians. In terms of percentage, Sikh population has recorded the steepest decline since independence.
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