April 2016 News

Census Data Busts 'Buddhist-dominated Ladakh' Myth

17 April 2016
Rising Kashmir
Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: Census 2011 data has busted the myth that Ladakh is Buddhist-dominated and also that Jammu region is entirely Hindu-dominated with only four districts having Hindu-majority. According to Census 2011, the cold desert region Ladakh has a population of 2,74,289 with 1,27,296 Muslims contributing to 46.40 percent of the population while 1,08,761 Buddhists contributing to 39.65 percent population and 33,223 Hindus making up 12.11 percent population of the region. Director of Census Operations J&K, C S Sapru told Rising Kashmir that according to the Census 2011, Leh has more Buddhists while Kargil has more Muslims. 'We should not look at the population of Ladakh together as a region but the population of the two districts needs to be looked into separately,' he said. Leh with the population of 1,33,487 has 88,635 Buddhists making up 66.39 percent while 19,057 Muslims contribute to 14.27 percent and 22,882 Hindus make up 17.14 percent of the district. However, Kargil with the population of 1,40,802 has 1,08,239 Muslims contributing to 76.87 percent, 20,126 Buddhists making up 14.29 percent and 10,341 Hindus adding up to 7.34 percent of the total populace of the district. Talking to Rising Kashmir, Director of the Centre for Research and Development Policy, Suhail Masoodi said this myth that Ladakh was Buddhist-dominated was due to ignorance, the place being landlocked, and people of the State being poor at statistics. 'It is generally a perception of the people of Jammu Kashmir only and people from outside visiting the state know that Ladakh is a Muslim-majority region,' said Masoodi, who received his doctorate in Public Policy from a Chinese university. 'The perception is also due to the fact that people of Ladakh, both the Muslims and Buddhists have Mongolian looks, which is mistaken for them being Buddhists.' The Census 2011 figures also bust the myth that entire Jammu region is Hindu dominated as the Hindu population is concentrated in only four districts adjoining the neighbouring north Indian state of Punjab. Besides Kathua, Udhampur, Jammu and Samba, all the other districts of Jammu region have Muslim majority. Even Reasi, which is thought to be a Hindu-dominated district has a Muslim-majority population with 156275 Muslims contributing to 49.66 percent against 1,53,896 Hindus making up 48.90 percent of the total 3,14,667 population of the district. Similarly, the Pir Pinjal region and Chenab Valley region are also Muslim-dominated with significant Muslim percentage. Of the 11,19,251 population of the Pir Panjal region 8,34,158 Muslims contribute to 74.52 percent while 2,54,484 Hindus make up 22.73 percent of the total populace of the region. The Muslims also contribute to 59.97 percent population of the Chenab Valley with a population of 5,54,355 against 3,62,578 Hindus making up 39.22 percent of the total populace of 9,24,345 of the region. In Kashmir region, which has a total population of 68,88,475 Muslims, Muslims contribute to 96.40 percent with 66,40,957 populace against 1,68,813 Hindus making up 2.45 percent of the region. In the overall population of the State 1,25,41,302, Muslims contribute to 68.31 percent population with 85,67,485 against 35,66,674 Hindus making up 28.43 percent. Sikhs with a population of 2,34,848 contribute to 1.87 percent and 1,12,584 Buddhists make up 0.89 percent population of the State.