Apart from the illegality, large scale conversions are leading to social strife, law and order issues, and families are being torn apart. The Hindu society will surely be weaker but the real losers are the SCs, STs and OBCs. Legal Rights Protection Forum Representation to SC and BC Commissions exposes the misuse of reservations by the Church lobby in Andhra Pradesh
The misuse of reservation was known for a long time but none of the governments took it seriously as they did not want to antagonise their voters from these sections. But now, the Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) representation to the SC Commission provides the details which cannot be brushed aside as if this misuse is allowed to continue, the very purpose of the reservation will be defeated soon. Moreover, the influential Evangelists are now trying to force the governments to extend the reservations to even those from the SC, ST and OBC communities who have already converted. Several state governments have already promised to agree to this demand in order to secure the votes of the Christians. Though this is unconstitutional and illegal, the state governments deem it as a face-saving exercise.
The LRPF has sent its representation to the National SC Commission and BC Commission seeking to appoint a Fact-Finding Team to Andhra Pradesh on SC Reservation misuse by Christians. The representation is of paramount importance as it exposes the designs of the Evangelists in Andhra and other parts of the country to convert gullible people from the underprivileged sections of the society and yet claim various government benefits including reservation.
The representation signed by the Working President of LRPF A.S. Santosh provides details of the demographic details of Christians in Andhra Pradesh, appeasement policy of the state government, disproportionate number of Churches in various Districts and Mandals, and the need to safeguard the identity of SC/STs so that they continue to enjoy the constitutional benefits. Some of the salient points from the representation are given below:
Conversion and Appeasement
Large-scale conversion to Christianity is taking place in the state of Andhra Pradesh since years. Unfortunately, the state of Andhra Pradesh does not have any legislation to regulate or monitor the conversion from one religion to another. In the absence of a mandatory provision to register the change of religion, most of the conversions from Hinduism to Christianity are being neither noticed nor recorded in any official records. Majority of the said conversions are out of SC Hindu population in the state. The enormity of the problem can be gauged by the fact that the word ‘SC’ and ‘Christian’ are being used interchangeably and being exploited.
For example, LRPF cites the replies it has received for its RTI query on the selection of beneficiaries for the previous government’s scheme ‘Chandranna Christmas Kanuka’ for Christians. The government officials in their reply to the LRPF’s RTI query, have said that they treat the entire SC population as Christians and as such they extended the scheme to all SC people whereas it should be given only to Christians.
The LRPF representation quotes the Centre for Policy Studies report titled ‘What happened to the Christians of Andhra Pradesh?’ to draw attention to the demographic data of Christians in Andhra. The data show a sharp decline in those who declared their religion as Christian between 1971 and 2011. In just one district—Guntur, the number of Christians has come down from 4.15 lakh to just 0.89 lakh in last 40 years, while the population of the district went up from 28.44 lakhs to 48.87 lakhs between 1971 and 2011. The most revealing data is that the sharp decline in the number of Christians is the sharp rise in those claiming themselves as Scheduled Castes (Tab 1).
The data for Guntur district are even more shocking. In 1961, 5.24 % of the population was from Scheduled Castes and 13.40% was from Christians. By 2011, the figure for SCs has risen to 19.59%, while the figure for Christians came down to 1.84 %. The LRPF says that it is safe to assume that those practising Christianity have obtained Hindu-SC caste certificates to garner each and every opportunity and facility given for benefit of SCs—like reservations in politicals, nominated posts, jobs, educational opportunities, scholarships, hostels, housing, etc.
The representation says that this is a gross misuse of the special facilities granted by the Constitution for SCs. If the data is translated into the number of people, amount misused and the length of time for which this has been going on, it will stand out as the largest fraud on the Constitution of India and violation the law of the land, says LRPF (Table 2).
It is pertinent to note that majority of the converts from Hinduism into Christianity continue to obtain Hindu Caste Certificates like SC/OBC and garner all the benefits of reservations be it in selection of candidates for SC reserved constituencies (MP, MLA etc.), nominated posts reserved for SCs, educational opportunities, job opportunities etc. The genuine SCs still faithfully practising Hindu religion and traditional/ancestral way of life and cultural practices are thoroughly deprived of their legitimate constitutionally guaranteed benefits for their social and economic upliftment (Table 3).
Disproportionate Number of Churches
As further proof of large scale conversions to Christianity but the concealment of their real religion, the LRPF representation provides statistics for one Mandal namely Reddygudem in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh as a case study. In a reply to LRPF's RTI Application on number of Churches in the Krishna District, the Mandal Tehsildar of the said Mandal furnished the following data:
No. of Churches in the Mandal - 68
No. of villages in the Mandal - 11
Average no. of churches per village - 6
Note: As per 2011 Census the No. of Christians in entire Reddygudem Mandal is - 630
The number of Churches on the ground which are not recorded in Revenue Records is much higher. The number of villages in Reddygudem Mandal is 11, which gives an average of six churches per village. If we add unrecorded/ unauthorised Churches/Christian prayer-houses then the number will cross 10 per village. As a further example in the above said Mandal of Reddygudem, in the village of Maddhulaparva the data are
Total number of Churches – 11
No. of Christians - 0 (Zero)
This was revealed in a reply given to LRPF in June 2018 by the office of the Mandal Tehsildar of Reddygudem. Why should there be 11 Churches unless a large number of Christian converts out of Hindu SC/OBC exist in the village aks LRPF?
As a further proof of large scale of conversions into Christianity LPRF quotes the recent statement made by K. Rajendra Prasad, Secretary for the AP United Pastors Association in a meeting held after the 2019 Assembly Elections in Kaamayyapalem Village, Jeelugumilli (M), West Godavari (District), Andhra Pradesh claiming a membership of 5 lakh Pastors and total 2 crore of Christian population in Andhra Pradesh whereas the 2011 Census shows the total population of Christians is only 6.82 lakh in Undivided Andhra Pradesh.
If the population of Christians in Andhra Pradesh is only 6.82 lakh out of 4.93 crore (State Population) why so much money is being spent on just 1.4 per cent of the total population?
Population of Christians: A Massive Scam
While official population figures indicate that the population of Christians in Andhra to be around 2-5%, Christian pastors and Evangelists themselves have exposed that these figures do not reflect the real picture.
In various debates on TV Channels, several Christian leaders have been claiming that up to 30% of the state population is now Christian which leads to the inescapable conclusion that 28.5% of the population has wrongly declared its religion during the census. A bulk of this wrongful declaration has been made by SC/OBC converts out of Hinduism into Christianity. This is a serious violation of the laws and disrespect to the Constitution of India and the entire nation, says LRPF (Table 4).
In this manner, if the data and ground realities obtained in Andhra Pradesh in respect of ineligible converts into Christianity carrying Hindu caste certificates are studied in-depth, a massive scam of gigantic proportions will be revealed. In terms of sheer numbers, the amount involved, the number of years for which this gross injustice has been perpetrated on genuine and deserving SCs, this could turn out to be the biggest scam in post-independent India.
LRPF in its representation says that the forum suspects that going by the large presence of Churches, large scale receipts of FCRA funds by evangelical organisations, government officials treating all SC’s as Christians, it is clear that large scale conversions from SC’s into Christianity have taken place in the state of Andhra Pradesh. But as per 2011 Census, the number of Christians in the entire state of Andhra Pradesh is 6,82,660.
From the year 1951 to 2011 Census the percentage of Christians has fallen from 5.37% to 1.38%, whereas there is a vertical explosion in the number of Churches/ Evangelical activity across the state. This shows that to garner the constitutionally guaranteed reservations/safeguards meant for benefit of SCs and other underprivileged communities are being misused by Christian converts out of Hindu SC/OBC quotas.
Social Impact of Misuse of Reservations
The LPRF representation lays bare the true picture of how the Evangelists and their benefactors in the government work in tandem. The Hindu society will surely be weaker but the real losers will be from the SC, STs and OBCs.
Apart from the illegality, large scale conversions are leading to social strife, law and order issues, and families are being torn apart. Converts are refusing to cremate their departed elders and refusing to attend family ceremonies.
Further, the aggressively proselytizing evangelists are sowing the seeds of secessionist, separatist ideas in the minds of converts. They are shifting the loyalties of the converts from nation to extra-territorial, extra-constitutional evangelical/Christian religious heads located abroad. This does not bode well for the unity and integrity of the country.
The LRPF appeals to the SC and OBC Commissions to depute a fact-finding Committee to the State of Andhra Pradesh and ascertain ground realities and initiate punitive action against those who are committing fraud on the Constitution of India by cornering SC reservation benefits. The LRPF also requests the Commissions to initiate remedial measures to eradicate the menace of obtaining SC Caste certificates illegally by ineligible people and save the SC population of the state from further injustice and discrimination. n