Appeasement of Muslims and Christians by the government in Andhra Pradesh to the detriment of the Hindu interests and sensibilities have resulted in widespread concern and reactions from the Hindu society.
- Milind Parande
What is happening in Andhra Pradesh is a blatant example of anti–Hindu attitude of some people of the political class. There are three burning examples. Firstly, the AP government is planning to acquire Hindu temple lands for distribution as house sites to the needy. There is nothing wrong per se in the work to be done for the needy. These lands have been donated by the Hindu philanthropists for the maintenance and development of temples. It is the duty of the government to protect the sentiments and the wishes of the donors. The government wants to take auction route to sell the temple lands. There have been numerous instances in the past where intentionally ill-managed and corrupt sells or auctions have taken place and the temples have not received fair compensation for their lands. The buyers have sold those lands at huge profits at a later stage.
It is surprising that the A.P Govt. is not acquiring the huge land holdings of the Christian missionary institutions whose lease given by the British Govt. has already expired in 1994. The Govt. should also consider and acquire the huge properties of Waqf boards for the purpose of distribution to the needy. The intension of the A.P Govt. to acquire the Endowment lands is in contravention of the relevant 2006 High court judgement and Supreme Court judgment thereafter. Real solution is that the temple and their properties should be handed over to the Hindu society and institutions for running them. As the Supreme Court has rightly asked recently in the Jagannath Puri Shrine case, why government should manage temples and other religious places? The avarice of some people in the political class is also fuelling such actions to appropriate the temple lands.
In a seeming violation of the Article 27 of constitution of India the AP state govt. has decided to pay a salary of Rs.5,000 per month to every Christian pastor, Rs.10,000 per month to mullah of every Mosque, Rs.5,000 per month to Moujans of every mosque. This is a preferential treatment to a particular religion, by paying this money through the taxes paid by the unwitting general tax payers. The missionary institutions as well as the Waqf boards are wealthy enough to pay their own people without taxing the Hindu taxpayer. Limited number of pujaris are being paid through the Endowment department of the temples only and not through the general taxpayers money. It seems not only the government isfailing to stop the rampant and illegal conversion activities of the Christian missionaries but also wants the Hindu taxpayer to pay for getting converted by them !!
Then there is the case of employment and involvement of non- Hindus in the temple administration, especially in TTD Tirupati Devasthanam and Shree Mallikarjun Temple at Shri Shailam. People who do not believe in the deity and the Hindu traditions are being involved in the administration of the temple. The courageous stand taken by the Chief Secretary Shree L. V. Subramanian of not allowing such people in employment or administration is commendable. (Unfortunately, as a consequence, he has been divested of his responsibility because of it.) There have been numerous instances of efforts of proselytization by Christian missionaries with help of such people in the seven sacred hills of Tirupati. 14 such employees are involved in the administration of the Shri Shailam temple. The honorable courts have also quashed the recent auctions of shops by the Endowment board of Shree Shailam on the same basis as they were auctioned and went preferentially to Muslims because of the complicity of some elements in the administrations.
The government of Andhra Pradesh has been acting like a Christian government , openly flouting the Constitution of India. The anti-Hindu activities of churches and Christian missionary organizations have increased manifold under its protection. The government remains inactive even when Christian missionaries openly despise, berate and insult Hindu deities even in front of world famous Hindu shrines like Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam temple. Many such activities are going on across the state.
The selections/appointments of radical Christians are being made indiscriminately and arbitrarily everywhere whether it is for cabinet posts or administrative posts, posts in Temple Trusts or government establishments. The same policy is at work by demoting or shunting competent, honest and experienced officers to inconsequential posts. Very unconstitutional and eye-opener for all of us is the announcement made by the District Magistrate of Guntur District while participating in a Christian function that: "by virtue of my being a Christian, Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy has appointed me in this district and in the last 6 months I have given jobs to 6,000 Christians in this district. This government is a Christian government and we are going to do a lot of good for Christians!” It was also featured in newspapers. Many such incidents have become commonplace in Andhra Pradesh.
By making two schemes called the “Gram Sevaks” (Village Volunteers) and “Sachivalay Sevaks” (Secretariat Volunteers), the state government has appointed over 100,000 (One-Lakh) Christians and paying them monthly salaries.
Advertisements put up by the state government, on the back of tickets of buses shuttling between Tirupati and Tirumala, highlighting the subsidies and facilities being extended to Christians going on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and calling upon the Lord Venkateswara devotees to take part in the Jerusalem pilgrimage, makes the government’s intentions clear! As per the rules of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam temple, a non-Hindu can have access to the shrine to have Darshan of the Deity only by giving a self-declaration that "I believe in Sri Balaji Venkateswara Swamy". But the government is misusing its power to ensure entry of Christians without such affidavit, what else it is, if not to humiliate Hindus? When questioned about the violation of this rule, threats hurled by a minister of the state government in a rude language is a sign that, now in Andhra Pradesh, Hindus will be considered as second class citizens.
With the new political dispensation in the power in AP, many such instances of blatant appeasement of Muslims and Christians to the detriment of the Hindu interests and sensibilities are happening. Already there is widespread concern and reactions from the Hindu society. Many Hindu organizations have vocally protested and threatened agitations. Representations have been made to the respected Governor of the state. The state government has to be careful that in no way should it willfully act against the Hindu society. Otherwise the Hindu society will have to take recourse to agitations and the court of law to reverse these blatantly anti-Hindu decisions and actions.
(Author is the Secretary General of Vishwa Hindu Parishad)