Exactly a month after Uttarakhand’s home ministry wrote a letter to the Director-General of Police seeking a report on the mushrooming institutions of a ‘particular religion’, the BJP government has now directed district authorities to list out individuals who in recent past shifted to Uttarakhand and are a possible threat to communal harmony.
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said, “Changing State’s demography is a matter of concern and the State government taking it seriously.”
Why BJP thinks the demography is changing
Uttarakhand carved out of Uttar Pradesh 21 years ago has a majority of 83 per cent Hindus, as per the 2011 census. After Hindus, the second largest population of Muslims got 14 per cent. Rest 3 per cent are mainly Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists.
A section in BJP believes the reverse migration of minorities into the state could mean an impact on the cultural and political domain. The ruling BJP cadres were demanding stringent steps to save the State from the ‘outsiders’. They are excited that the Chief Minister has given heed to their advice.
“The government has taken the right step towards making Uttarakhand an ideal Hindu State,” said Dalip Rawat, BJP MLA to News18.
BJP leader Ajayendra Ajay was the first one to write to the CM in July highlighting spurt in religious institutions in hills.
“Several locals have migrated from hills in search of jobs but at the same time population of a particular religion is growing. This is a dangerous trend since Uttarakhand is a border State, besides the major Hindu shrines are here,” Ajay said while thanking the government for “active response”.
Opposition Blames Polarisation on Cards
The main Opposition party in the state, Congress, believes the government move is aimed at threatening minorities and creating polarisation among communities in a State which goes to the polls in the next five months.
The hill State has 13 districts and roughly half of the State’s total 1.1 crore population lives in Haridwar, Dehradun, US Nagar, Nainital and Pauri districts which are close to western Uttar Pradesh districts. Incidentally, these five districts also have the majority of the Assembly seats.