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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

AP Christian pastors refuse govt. honorarium in order to illegally continue milking SC quota benefits

Andhra Pradesh (AP) Christian pastors who had converted out of Hindu Dharma are reportedly still holding on to their Scheduled Caste (SC) certificates that are legally issued only to Hindus and other Dharmics. It is alleged that they are using these bogus certificates to illegally corner state benefits with the help of the state government led by none other than YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who comes from a rabidly evangelist family.

This despicable practice was revealed when the same Christian pastors denied the ‘honorariums’ that the government of AP is granting to Christian pastors. What is there to honor or compensate those who convert Hindus to Christianity using anti-Hindu bigotry, falsehoods and fraud like ‘faith-healing’ is entirely another story.

Most of the converted pastors are now turning down the honorarium being offered by AP govt. fearing the loss of their SC status once such payments come on to official records. What it means is that these unscrupulous pastors who convert Hindus into Christianity will fraudulently continue to avail all state benefits available only to SC/OBC Hindus. 

Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF), a legal activism group had raised this issue, wherein they exposed that those who had converted to Christianity earlier are still holding on to their SC certificates to avail of such benefits. In September 2020, an investigation by LRPF revealed that 70% of the 29,841 Christian pastors, who received a one-time government honorarium of ₹5,000 through the Disaster Relief Fund, were holding SC/Other Backward Caste certificates, illegally. These SC/OBC certificates are to be issued only to practicing Hindus and not to Christians.

LRPF had demanded an investigation into the financial assistance given by the government to pastors as part of the COVID-19 relief fund and lodged a complaint with the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and National Commission for Backward Classes. The Forum found that it was illegal and against the provisions of the Constitution. By violating these rules, the AP State Government is clearly encouraging religious conversions by providing the conversion mafia with financial incentives.

In their complaint, LRPF explained that the Andhra Pradesh State government is resorting to large-scale misuse of public funds by paying a monthly salary to converted Christians who were still holding dual religious identities. This shows the misuse of constitutional safeguards and reservations by converted Christians.

The payment of monthly salaries to Christian pastors is a declared objective of the present government in the State. As per the election manifesto of the ruling YSR Congress Party the amount of Rs. 5000 being paid now is the ‘minimum amount.’ Since this is not a fixed amount, this also means that the amount of Rs.5,000 being paid to Christian pastors may well increase in the future.

In May, last year, the AP State government issued an order that increased the monthly honorarium (separate from the one-time lockdown honorarium) of Muslim imams, muezzins, Christian pastors and Archakas (Hindu priests). While one can understand the secular state paying Hindu priests as it extracts tax and siphons off revenue from temples, why Muslim and Christian clergy are being paid by the state when those communities have full control of their religious institutions is one of those unsolvable mysteries created by Nehruvian secularism.

Interestingly, while pastors and imams are being paid hefty allowances, Ayahs who clean and maintain school premises are being pushed into penury by the Jagan government. The compensation for Ayahs was brought down to Rs.1,000 per month from Rs.5,000 that was being paid earlier. Is this another ploy to push impoverished Hindus into the arms of the conversion mafia?

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