Close on the allegations that the AP governments under Jagan Reddy of YSRCP are giving full support to Christian Evangelicals who are on a conversion spree, several documents show how the present and past government have aided conversion by their blatant appeasement of Christians.
Organiser had revealed how missionaries aided by their supporters in the administration had tried to occupy forest lands by building huge crosses or Churches. Timely intervention by local Hindu groups and legal forums like Legal Rights Protection Forums had stopped such construction by producing official ownership documents. But now the government itself is funding construction of Churches in Andhra Pradesh.
In a Government Order dated 27th December, 2019 the government through the minorities welfare department is funding construction of 3 churches in villages of Guntur district. The proposals were received by the minorities welfare department for construction of churches at Nizampatnam Mandal in Guntur through the AP State Christian Finance Corporation for an amount of Rs. 5 lakhs per church amounting to Rs. 15 lakhs in total. The collector and district magistrate were then asked to submit the full fledged proposal for sanctioning the amount for the construction.
The GO says ‘After careful examination of the matter…., the government hereby accord administrative sanction for an amount of Rs. 15 Lakhs which would be Rs. 5 Lakh per church as aid towards construction of (3) churches in various villages of Nizampatnam Mandal, Guntur District.’ The GO then specifies that the AP State Christian Finance Corporation, a Government body shall release the grants to the collector and district magistrate of Guntur.
Those who swear by the constitution and separation of religion have been silent on such appeasement politics. The state BJP has also decreid such blatant appeasement by Jagan’s government. However, the TDP and its leaders have been silent as it too has been guilty of similar appeasement while it was in power.
TDP – A equal partner in appeasing Evangelists
Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) has unearthed scathing documents that reveal as to why they are silent over Jagan government’s move to fund constitution of churches. The documents which are in possession of LRPF show that the TDP government between 2018 and 2019, sanctioned Rupees 38.36 crores for Construction, Repair and Renovation of Churches in AP by passing 54 GOs. It even sanctioned Rs. 58 Lakhs for construction & repair of toilets in Churches through GO RT-408 on 29.11.2018.
The above documents reveal the details of the Government Order, date, summary with details of church and the amount requested, district and the amount sanctioned. While TDP was in power, Chandrababu Naidu had in a bid to get re-elected had declared that financial aid would be given to construct Churches in AP and even promised to grant Scheduled Caste status to converted Christians.
LRPF has been consistently fighting to unravel the nexus of Evangelists and government officials who either remain silent or abet their activities. It can be recalled that intervention by LRPF had stopped the construction of an illegal masjid and church on forest land in Kurnool, AP. Unless intervened, it has been seen that the officials in AP do not stop construction of church or Christian symbols on forest or government lands. However, with such official sanction by the state government to construction of Churches, appeasement has reached its peak.
Legal experts opine that unless the central government brings in a law and make constitutional provisions to really separate religion from state, such blatant appeasement for the sake of votes will continue which will be detrimental to the cultural fabric of this country.