Tehsildar in AP attributes Christianity to all SCs in a Mandal; SC/STs fear they could be robbed of their rights from this move
Chandrababu Naidu as CM of Andhra Pradesh had started a government scheme to appease them where 'gifts' were given to Christian under BPL during Christmas. While this move to appease Christian was decried, officials under Jagan government have gone a step ahead and attributed Christianity to all Scheduled Castes in a mandal before distribution of these gifts during upcoming Christmas.
RTI query from Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) has revealed that the Tehsildar of Atchampeta mandal in Guntur district is treating all SCs in the mandal as Christians. Atchampeta has many SC/ST colonies and are eligible for commodities distributed under the Public Distribution System. However, only Christian were eligible to receive gifts under the 'Chandranna Christmas Kanuka' scheme.
In an apparant move to lure the SCs in the Mandal, the identity of Christianity has been attributed to them. Each kit contains six variety of material such as 1kg wheat powder, 500 gms Bengal gram, 500 gms red gram, 500 gms jaggery, half litre palmolein and 100 ml of ghee. These kits are distributed through the PDS system in the state.
LPRF files RTI to expose Tehsildar's motive
Reply from Atchampeta Tehsildar office to LRPF's RTI query
LPRF had filed three separate queries under RTI with the Atchampeta Tehsildar office. In the first two RTI applications filed in August 2019, the Forum asked the officials to reveal the criteria adopted to select beneficiaries for the 'Chandranna Christian Kanuka' in the mandal. The Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Tehsildar office replied to the queries where it was stated that "The government has recognized all the Scheduled Castes people who are living in the villages as Christians and provided the gifts".
As soon as this controversial reply was received, LPRF decided to dig deeper into the matter and filed another RTI on 15th October seeking the same information at the mandal level. The mandal PIO replied to the RTI on November 5th and explained that "The government has decided to provide Chandranna Christian Kanuka to all the SCs in all the villages in the mandal who posses a White Ration Card".
The Supreme Court in 1950 had barred religious conversions of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes. Hence, LPRF has sought stringent action against such government-sponsored religious conversion schemes. The Forum has lodged a complaint with the AP Chief Secretary and Union Home Ministry to take appropriate action against the officials of Atchampeta mandal who have attempted to encourage religious conversions through such devious moves.