Andhra Pradesh has become a hotbed for evangelical missionaries who are now targeting poor Hindus. It has come to light that Hindu Scheduled Caste (SC) families have been evicted by the local church from their homes in Dorasanipalli village of Kadapa district. NGO Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) has written to the Kadapa District Collector requesting him to step in and help the displaced families.
Pastors Mr. Krupakar & Mr. Ashok started construction of a Church at same place where the families of marginalized section are living, forcing them to vacate their homes (tents).
Police personnel can be seen in the video. https://t.co/lx5M7avEBE pic.twitter.com/4HKLrHpd7Z
— Legal Rights Protection Forum (@lawinforce) June 29, 2020
Families of the semi-nomadic Budaga Jangala Community, categorised as SC, have been residing in small make-shift tents of Dosaranipalli village in Proddutur Mandal of Kadapa district for about 15 years. The community comprises of men, women, children and the aged who make a living by mat weaving, fortune-telling, selling itinerant items and seeking alms.
Their tents are located in an unused Poramboke land (government land exempt from assessment, usually reserved for public use) which is now being claimed by two pastors who are getting a church constructed nearby.
The members of this community go around to the nearby villages for their livelihood and return to their hutments after a few days. In the above video, the victims have mentioned that pastors Ashok and Krupakar who have initiated the church construction illegally grabbed the land of this marginalized community when they were out earning their income.
As per the statement of the victims, the two pastors threatened them, used foul language, abused the poor people including women, and eventually forcefully evicted them from the place. It is even more appalling that the local administration and police were mere mute spectators when the entire incident took place.
Instead of helping these poor SC people who were trying to protect their land and their homes, the police took some of those who were protesting to the police station. It is both a violation of ‘right to life’ guaranteed by Article 21 of the constitution as well as atrocity against people of SC which demands action under Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
In their complaint, LRPF has asked the Collector to initiate action as the local administration is not helping these poor people by stopping the construction of the church and restoring their homes to them. Indicating that their right to live free of fear and be protected from the high-handed and arrogant behavior of the church authorities has been violated, LRPF has demanded strict action against the pastors.
Furthermore, demand has also been put forward for providing an alternate site where these poor SC families can set up their tents and live with dignity. The collector has been requested to take cognizance of the incident and call for details from the district administration besides asking the latter to act at the earliest to help the SC families.
In a similar case from earlier this year, the Latin Catholic Church in Kerala was also accused of usurping Puramboke land under the guise of disaster relief and then cheating poor fishermen by illegally selling that govt. land.
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