Chennai (Tamil Nadu) – The Madras High Court on 7th January observed that the demographic profile of Kanyakumari District in terms of religion has seen an inversion and Hindus have become a minority since 1980 even though the 2011 census indicates otherwise.
The HC Bench of Justice GR Swaminathan made this 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.
Hindus In Minority In Kanyakumari District, Ground Reality Of ‘Crypto-Christians’ Not Reflected In 2011 Census: Madras HChttps://t.co/IjK1mbsaly
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“Though the 2011 census gives an impression that Hindus are the largest religious group with their number pegged at 48.5 per cent, this may not represent the ground reality”, the Court said. The Court order further said, “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 people are called crypto-Christians”.
“There was even a motion picture (Rudra Thandavam) based on this theme. 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.
“This is why, notwithstanding the census figures, the petitioner boasts that 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 the 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.
“If there is a serious subversion of the status quo, calamitous consequences may follow. The 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 P George Ponnaiah under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code.