Hindus In Minority In Kanyakumari District, Ground Reality Of 'Crypto-Christians' Not Reflected In 2011 Census: Madras HC
The Madras High Court on Friday (7 January) observed that the demographic profile of Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari in terms of religion has seen an inversion and Hindus have become a minority in the district since 1980 even though the 2011 census indicates otherwise.
The HC bench of Justice G R Swaminathan made the observation in the order passed on a plea by a Catholic priest P George Ponnaiah seeking quashing of hate speech case filed against him for mocking Hindu religious beliefs at a meeting organised at Arumanai, a village in the Kanyakumari district, reports .
"The demographic profile of Kanyakumari in terms of religion has seen an inversion. Hindus became a minority in the District since 1980. Though the 2011 census gives an impression that Hindus are the largest religious group with their number pegged at 48.5 per cent, that may not represent the ground reality," the Court said.
The Court in its order further added, "One can take judicial notice of the fact a large number of Scheduled Caste Hindus, though having converted to Christianity and professing the said religion, call themselves Hindus on record for the purpose of availing reservation".
Such persons are called as crypto-christians, the court added.
This is because the census does not take into account the fact that a large number of Scheduled Caste Hindus, though having converted to Christianity and professing the said religion, call themselves Hindus on record for the purpose of availing reservation, the Court said.
Such persons are called crypto-christians, the Court added.
"There was even a motion picture based on this theme (Rudra Thandavam). Out of courtesy, I refrain from mentioning the name of a Judge who belonged to such a category. There was even a writ petition challenging his status. Everyone pretended as if they did not know the truth. But when he died, he was buried as per Christian rites in a cemetery," the order stated.
The petitioner in his speech "boasts" said that the demographics of Christians have crossed 62 percent in Kanyakumari district, the Court noted.
"That is why, notwithstanding the census figures, the petitioner boasts that the Christians have crossed 62 per cent in Kanyakumari District. He foresees that they would soon reach the figure of 72 per cent. His triumphalism is evident when he says “I warn the Hindus” and claims that nothing can stop their growth,” the Court said.
The Court noted that India was partitioned on the ground of religion and millions died in the ensuing riots.
"That is why, our founding fathers consciously adopted secularism as the guiding principle of the new republic. There is something truly enchanting about the idea of India propounded by them. The status quo in the matter of religious demography has to be maintained,” the Court said.
However, the Court clarified that the Constitution guarantees fundamental right to profess and propagate one's religion and if an individual based on his personal conviction, wants to change his religion, his choice must be respected.
But religious conversions cannot be a group agenda, the Court added.
"Our Constitution speaks of composite culture. This character has to be maintained. The clock of history can never be put back. But the status quo that obtains in the year 2022 as regards religious demographic profile may have to be maintained," the Court opined.
"If there is a serious subversion of the status quo, calamitous consequences may follow. State is there to maintain and uphold the rule of law. But if the tipping point is reached, things may become irreversible," the Court underscored.
With these observations, the Court refused to quash the hate speech case invoked against the petitioner under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code.
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