News Brief

70 Per Cent Christian Pastors Given Honorarium By Jagan Govt In AP Hold Fake Hindu Caste Certificates: LRPF

Swarajya Staff

Sep 10, 2020, 01:21 PM | Updated 01:21 PM IST

YSR Congress Party Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
YSR Congress Party Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Fake caste certificate holding Christians and Muslims not only benefit from both the schemes intended for backward castes, as well as minorities, but also usurp what rightfully belongs to the backward castes
  • Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) said that its research shows that 70 per cent of the Christian pastors in Andhra Pradesh given one-time honorarium of Rs 5,000 through Disaster Relief Fund possess fake Scheduled Caste or Over Backward Caste certificate.

    The LRPF called it “state assisted incentive to convert to Christianity”.

    The forum said that it has written to the National Scheduled Caste and Backward Caste commissions to conduct inquiry, and constitute a fact finding committee to probe the matter.

    LRPF informed it had also written to the Governor of Andhra Pradesh to conduct an inquiry, and arrange to cancel the Hindu community certificates of the Christian pastors.

    The use of fake caste certificates adversely affects the genuine beneficiaries the lower caste who are targeted for the special benefits.

    Fake caste certificate holding Christians and Muslims not only benefit from both the schemes intended for backward castes, as well as minorities, but also usurp what rightfully belongs to the former.

    Conversion by stealth is a well-established and widespread phenomena. Various videos shared by evangelicals themselves show how the missionaries are instructed into techniques of deceit. Others show them indulging in such fraudulent actions in order to convert people.

    The fake caste certificates should not come as a surprise because Jaganmohan’s own politics is based on the above facade. He has been accused of cultural appropriation of Hinduism, and using ‘Reddy’ identity despite being a Christian, to further political goals.

    Jaganmohan, called an even “stronger evangelist than his father” regularly engages in photo-ops with Hindu seers. However, given the state control of Hindu temples where these seers make a living, the photo-ops are most likely no more than that.

    The YSRCP government, headed by Jaganmohan, has been in the limelight for providing special treatment to his own community since the very beginning of his term.

    In November last year, Jaganmohan government enhanced financial assistance to Christian pilgrims visiting Jerusalem in Israel and other Biblical places from Rs 40,000 to Rs 60,000 (for those with annual income up to Rs 3 lakh), and from Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000 (for those with annual income over Rs 3 lakh).

    The burden on the state exchequer by Jaganmohan and family’s personal trip to Jerusalem also drew ire.

    Reportedly, the government was also preparing to fulfill other promises for the Christian community — like plots and house construction for pastors, and financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh for wedding of Christian girls, among others.

    As Jagan’s tenure began, videos flooded social media allegedly showing evangelical activities as being carried out in village/ward secretariat buildings inaugurated by the YSRCP government.

    It is important to note while churches and the madrassas are managed by the respective community themselves, the Hindu temples fall under the state control. Devotees also alleged that the YSRCP government was filling the state-appointed staff of the Hindu temples by Christians who were using their position to undermine the former as well as evangelism.

    In August last year, Hindu pilgrims travelling to Tirupati were greeted with photographs of Hajj and Jerusalem advertisements on Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) bus tickets.

    This advertisement selling a “holy Jerusalem tour” for Christians was published by the Andhra state minority department. As per the advertisement, the tour was available at just half the price. Another ticket sorted an advertisement about the annual Hajj pilgrimage for Muslims offered by the state government.

    The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) under the state government ran into a controversy after it was revealed that a book published under its grant had pages referring to Jesus Christ and Christianity.

    Last December, another controversy occurred when the name of Jesus Christ was displayed on the link to the official page of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. It was alleged that the people from other faith who work in the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam were wilfully resorting to such acts.

    The latest in a series of hate crimes against Hindus in the state is attack on Hindu temples. Just this year, there have been multiple incidents of Hindu temples falling victims to arson, desecration and destruction. However, the national media, political parties, as well as the intelligentsia is silent.

    The people came out on the streets to protest the government apathy after a 62 year old chariot was gutted in fire in Antarvedi. A similar episode of chariot burning had taken place in another temple in Nellore district a short while ago.

    Also read: “Why Only Hindu Temples Attacked?”: Hate Crimes Against Hindus Continue Unabated In Jagan-Ruled Andhra

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