CHENNAI: The number of Buddhists in Tamil Nadu has more than doubled in the decade from 2001, the census figures of religious communities in 2011 released on Tuesday reveal.
Though a miniscule minority in the seven crore-plus population of the State, the number of Buddhists has gone up from 5,393 in 2001 to 11, 186 in 2011, registering a 107 per cent increase. A majority of the followers of this religion are settled in Chennai and its surrounding districts.
Writer and general secretary of VCK, D Ravikumar, attributed this to the conversion of Dalits in the State. “Dalits have begun to understand that Buddhism is a religion with roots in India as compared to Islam and Christianity,” he said. “Converted Buddhist Dalits are recognised in the SC category as well,” he said, explaining another factor. The other reason for this upward trend could be the missionary activities of Sri Lankan Buddhists in Chennai and TN.