Ever since Jagan Mohan Reddy has taken over as the Chief Minister (CM) of Andhra Pradesh (AP), Christian missionaries seem to have got a boost in the form of government backing for their conversion activities through its numerous schemes. The government machinery is seemingly actively promoting conversions to Christianity.
On the one hand, Jagan Reddy is tightening the government’s vice-like grip on Hindu temples while on the other the state has been announcing schemes such as increased monetary assistance for Christians visiting Jerusalem, honorarium for pastors due to the Chinese Virus pandemic situation, etc.
Furthermore, it has also come to light that the AP government intends to help poor Christians by making available exclusive housing and other financial aid schemes which do not augur well for the harmony of society as diverse as ours especially bearing in mind the present economic crisis caused by the pandemic where all sections of the society irrespective of caste and religion have been equally affected.
It has already been seen how the government had attempted to usurp several temple assets including the famous Tirupati Balaji temple properties that were brought to a halt only due to mass protests by the devotees. The decisions of the Jagan government are certainly anti-Hindu and the spate of freebies offered by his government is nothing but sops for people to embrace Christianity.
A report in The Sunday Guardian (TSG) quotes political science expert Dr. Gautam Sen as saying “converts are told to hide their new faith by the church so that conversions can proceed by stealth”. Additionally, in Bharat Christian converts stand to lose out on reservation benefits at least on paper even if practically that might not be the case. This is another reason why there is no reliable data on the actual number of converts.
The phenomena of converts hiding their conversion status to avail reservation benefits meant for backward and underprivileged Hindus have been highlighted by Hindupost time and again. Readers may also recall how YSRCP MP had stated that Christians in Telugu-speaking formed “25% of the total population” as against the 1.4% official figures as per the 2011 Census.
It is an open secret that Jagan Reddy’s father, YS Rajashekara Reddy had also encouraged conversions to Christianity both overtly and covertly during his tenure as the chief minister of then undivided Andhra Pradesh. It was the encouragement provided by him which possibly allowed evangelical Christian missionaries to establish themselves firmly in the Telugu-speaking states.
Dr. Sen has also pointed out this fact while speaking to TSG and believes that Jagan, who is a stauncher evangelist as compared to his father, has been encouraging conversions by using the government machinery to pass more Christian friendly schemes.
Another serious problem facing us is church planting, a strategy evangelical missionaries are known to have historically adopted. Hindu-dominated villages and towns are peppered with churches not just in Andhra and Telangana but also in neighboring Tamil Nadu where the Dravidian parties in general and DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) in particular has co-opted with break Bharat forces.
Karnataka has also seen a similar strategy where government land, including forest lands, has often been encroached to plant crosses, Jesus statues, or churches to carry on evangelism, many times undetected. Furthermore, evangelical missionaries are known to use ‘influencers’ such as film stars, businessmen, sportspersons, and other famous personalities to sway the populace towards Christianity. Mahesh Bhupathi is a case in point whose Christian mother is known to have influenced many ‘high society people’ to embrace Christianity.
In this background, the recent spate of attacks on Hindu temples under suspicious circumstances with actor-politician Pawan Kalyan alleging involvement of Christian missionaries backed by the Jagan Reddy government raises serious questions of Christianity being promoted by the state government which poses a threat to social and religious harmony.
There is also the danger of these anti-national forces joining hands with pseudo-secular political parties to spread anarchy across the country and particularly in southern Bharat. We have already seen how radical Christian and Islamic forces have been operating in Kerala with ample support from the Communist state government to undermine Hindu traditions like the Swami Ayyappa Sabarimala Yatra.
The need of the hour is to curb such blatant misuse of state power by the evangelical Christian Jagan Reddy government so as to preserve indigenous traditions, protect the country’s religious and cultural diversity and also ensure equitable distribution of resources among all the citizens of the state without favor to one particular religious denomination.
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