Friday, March 6, 2020

Rama Lives in Penury While Jesus Thrives in Jagan Reddy's Andhra Pradesh


Jagan Mohan Reddy and his YSR Congress party has time and again shown its keenness to prop up Christianity, which Jagan personally adheres to. However, when it comes to celebrating the native Hindu traditions of Andhra Pradesh, it seems the government develops an ostrich like mentality, and buries its head in the proverbial sand.

The annual Bhadradri temple’s Sita-Rama wedding festival, celebrated on Rama Navami, has always been a sight to behold. Lakhs of devotees from across the country throng the temple in Bhadrachalam Andhra Pradesh to view this divine sight. The Jagan Reddy government has apparently declined to allocate funds for the Kalyana Mahotsavam this year, despite being a state festival for Andhra Pradesh.

Speaking to a Hans India reporter, a senior temple official was quoted that even though the Seetha Rama Kalyanam was declared as state festival, all they get is a pair of silk robes and pearls costing about ₹20,000.

The temple, the official said, earns about ₹2 crore/month, but of that ₹90 lakh goes to the staff salaries and about Rs 40 lakh to the Telangana State Endowments Department towards the payment of goodwill fund, leaving the temple with only ₹60 lakh.

Ongoing Land Encroachment Scam Abetted by Government?

The story also revealed that Bhadradri Sri Rama has agriculture land admeasuring about 917 acres. Of this, most of the 847 acres in Purushottapattanam of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh is under encroachment and the case is pending before the High Court. The government has not taken any steps to remove encroachments and restore ownership. Similarly, temple lands to an extent of nine acres in Pathabandla and another 5.25 acres in Jaggavaram in West Godavari district, 3.87 acres of land located in East Godavari of Andhra Pradesh is under encroachment, with no support on recovery from the government. Similar was the case with its land holdings in Telangana.

It is ironic that a state festival cannot get any funds from the state government, whereas funds are available for stipends to Church pastors across the state. In September 2019, the Jagan Mohan Reddy government had passed a government order as per which ₹5,000/month would be paid as an honorarium to Christian pastors. As part of the election manifesto, Reddy had also promised ₹10,000 to ₹35,000 for maintenance of temples; however, that money is clearly nowhere to be seen, given the apathy of the temple.

What is even more outrageous is that just four months ago in November 2019, as a bonanza for Christians, Jagan Reddy’s government had decided to enhance the financial assistance from ₹40,000 to ₹60,000 for pilgrims visiting Jerusalem in Palestine whose annual income is up to ₹3 lakh. For those pilgrims whose annual income is above ₹3 lakh, the permissible financial assistance was to be enhanced from ₹20,000 to ₹30,000.

Controversy regarding the support to evangelical mafia is nothing new. In December 2019, news stories had surfaced that the Jagan Reddy government’s schemes were allegedly aimed at encouraging ordinary Andhra citizens to convert. Scholars like Dr. Gautam Sen of the London School of Economics was quoted on persistent anecdotal evidence of frequent accounts of travellers suggesting conversion of ordinary Andhra citizens to Christianity, despite their Hindu names and no outward signs of their newly acquired Christian faith.


“Money and other services are clearly being offered and the Jagan government’s intervention in favour of Christians is fuelling the spate of conversions. Jagan Mohan Reddy has proved to be a stronger evangelist than his father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy,” Dr Sen was quoted by the Sunday Guardian.

Minority appeasement of a new kind is clearly being pursued, and actual number of Christians is certainly being underreported in Andhra Pradesh. With an evangelical agenda being pursued by the Jagan Reddy government, it is indeed depressing to note that sites with significant cultural and religious significance for Hindus are being neglected in the name of appeasement.

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