But it has been offset by substantial increase in urban areas of the district
The population of the Scheduled Caste (SC) in the rural Kanyakumari district has witnessed a negative growth of 29.3 per cent, but it has been offset by a substantial increase of 35.3 per cent in the urban population.
It is the only district in the State that has registered negative growth in rural SC population, as per the Census-2011.
While a host of the reasons are attributed to the decadal change in the SC population, District Collector S. Nagarajan puts his fingers on the Low Base Effect (LBE).
Explaining the LBE, he says that when the base is low, a small change, in absolute numbers, makes it appear as if a big change has taken place in terms of percentage. The SCs constitute only about six per cent of the rural population, which, in turn, accounts for 16 per cent of the district's population” said Mr Nagarajan.
In Kanyakumari, the total number of SCs is 74,249 and 18,972 of them live in rural areas and 55,277 in urban settlements. When translated into percentage, the rural population accounts for 5.7 per cent and the urban 3.6 per cent.
The total population of the district is about 19 lakh.
In the district, a total of 27 communities are listed under the SC list, with 14 SC communities being counted as SCs, only in Kanyakumari district and Shencottah taluk of Tirunelveli district, being the territories transferred from the erstwhile Travancore-Cochin State to the then Madras State during the Reorganisation of States in 1956.
Vai. Dinakaran, president of the Tamil Nadu Dalit Rights Protection Movement, said that the overall SC population in the district had come down because of the exclusion of Dalit Christians from the SC list.
Sambavars, who were described as Paraiyars between 1956 and 1986, make up one of the important sub-sects. Pallar, Vannar, Paravar (mostly in Vilavancode taluk), Kaniyar, Kaniyan, Bharathar, Vettaran (Agastheeswaram taluk) and Magarar are some of the communities listed under the SC.
A majority of the Chrisitian Dalits in the district belong to the Salvation Army which runs a big hospital in Putheri. The Lutheran Church comes next and it will be followed by London Mission.
“The district has witnessed a large-scale conversion in recent years. Still many will not disclose their identity,” Mr Dinakaran said.