Christian group in Telangana demands to include Dalit Christian issue in election manifestos

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By Abdul Bari Masoud, MuslimMirror.com,

New Delhi/ Hyderabad: Federation of Telugu Churches (FTC), a registered apex body of Bishops and Church Heads of major Christian Denominations in Telugu States, on Monday urged the all political parties contesting the ensuing assembly elections in Telangana to include the demand of Dalit Christian’s reservation in their respective election manifestos.

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FTC said there is need to bring pressure on the Central Government to extend SC status to the Dalit Christians by deleting the unconstitutional and discriminatory Para 3 of Constitution (Presidential) Order 19 of 1950.

Christians are in significant numbers in at least 35 seats of Telangana assembly’s 119 seats. They can play important role in the Telangana State election which will be slated on December 7.

Talking to Muslim Mirror, Rev. Fr. Dr. Anthoniraj Thumma and B. Danam IAS (Retd), Executive Secretaries of the FTC said Christian minority has a number of issues but the SCs and STs quota issue is major one as the Dalit Christians have been deprived their due right since 1950 through the Presidential Ordinance which was dubbed by National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, also called as Ranganath Misra Commission as a ‘blot on the Secular Constitution.

They said the FTC has submitted a memorandum to political parties including the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Congress, TDP and others to include the demands and issues of the Christian minority in their manifesto of the forthcoming Telangana State election and strive to implement them earnestly.

Besides the Dalit Christian reservation demand, the FTC wants to get “Prevention of Communal Violence Act” and “Prevention of Minorities Atrocities Act” (in line with the “Prevention of SC ST Atrocities Act”) enacted in the State and Centre in order to prevent the continuing attacks on the Christians and atrocities on the Pastors.

It wants to strengthen Telangana State Christian (Minority) Finance Corporation and allocate at least 25% of the funds and schemes under Minority Welfare budget to Christians.

Other demands include as :

1. The scheme of providing subsidy to Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Holy Land has to be re-launched immediately.

2. Three acres of land to be given to SC Christians and houses to be constructed to the Christians and Pastors like they given to other SC communities. Likewise all other SC welfare schemes to be implemented to the SC Christians without fail.

3. Allotment of land and construction of State Christian Bhavan in the Capital City of Hyderabad that was promised by the Government is to be realized without further delay. Similarly, Christian Bhavans must be put up in every district.

4. Continue the grant-in-aid to the Church-run Educational Institutions and fill up vacant aided posts without further delay.

5. Allocate government lands for the construction of churches, community halls, and education institutions and to the Christian burial grounds.

Danam also said Christians do not get due political representation in the legislative and civil bodies. In this context, we demanded to give representations to Christians in the legislative and civil bodies, administrative panels and in various commissions / boards.

At least a few Assembly and Lok Sabha seats in the State must be assigned to them. One co-option membership in every Municipality / Corporation must be given to a Christian to take care of Christian interests, he added.

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