The Muslim population in Karnataka has seen a rise from 13% to 16% between 2011 and 2015 if a News18 report is to be believed. The report cites a certain “Socio-Economic Survey” whose findings are still in the “safe custody” of the government. By “safe custody” the reports means that the Siddaramaiah government is hesitant to publicise the findings, by calling them a “state secret”.
As per reports, this particular survey was commissioned by CM Siddaramaiah in April 2015 at the cost of about Rs 150 crores.
The report claims that the explosive content in question pertains to the falling numbers of the politically dominant Lingayats and Vokkaligas castes who currently account for about 50% of the MP and MLAs in the state. As per the census report, the two castes now comprise of about 14% and 11% of the population, which is less than the Scheduled Castes who are the largest caste entity at about 19.5%.
Such a waning demographic of the politically dominant castes is likely to send ripples across Karnataka’s political classes, which is allegedly the reason why Siddaramaiah government is in double minds regarding the publication of the report.
Incidentally, there’s another aspect to the whole exercise. As per the figures put out by News18, the Muslims are the second largest entity in the state, comprising of 16% of the population. If this is indeed true, it would mean that the community’s population has risen about 3.08% from 12.92% in 2011 as per census figures.
Even though the findings of the survey haven’t been extensively published, the claims of rising Muslim population in the state have been carried in disjoint media reports.
As per a Businessworld report from February, the number of “minorities” has been pegged at 16% of the total voters in the state. A local report from 2016 proceeded to peg the Muslim population in the state at about 15% while talking about their possible “under representation” in the state.
If the News18 figures indeed turn out to be true, the rise in Muslim population may raise a few eyebrows considering, their population rose from 9.87% to 12.92% between 1961 and 2011, and from 12.92% to about 16% just between 2011 and 2015.