Uttar Pradesh government inflating Parsi numbers, says activist

A media activist here has accused the Uttar Pradesh government of falsely showing an increase in Parsi population in the state to siphon off educational scholarships meant for minority communities’ students.

The minority welfare department website of the state government lists around 60 Parsi families in the district, and claims that many of these live in the rural areas of Etmadpur and Khairagarh tehsils (sub division) of the state.

Nasir Hussain, a media activist, said the data put up on the website appears to have been carelessly tabulated. He said it was to siphon off educational scholarships, which are granted by the central government, to the students of the minority communities. The central government is supporting schemes to raise fertility rate among the Parsis. Their population in India has fallen from 115,000 in 1941 to 69,601 in 2001.

Hussain points out that the government figures in the state however show that the Parsi population is going up, from just two families till a few years ago to more than 50 now. He further cites the website data that indicates that the biggest group of 30 Parsi students, from two institutions in Barhan, lists names like Ashok Kumar, Pankaj, Kumari Rani Devi as Parsi.

District minority welfare officer Amit Pratap Singh however clarified that funds had not been disbursed so far. He said the lists have been put out by school and college management boards. A thorough inquiry will be conducted, the officer said.