Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) – As per the last census in 2011, Andhra Pradesh’s (undivided) population had 88.46% Hindus and 9.56% Muslims. It was observed that the total Christian population was around 1.35% and it was added that their population has decreased continuously since the census of 1971. The total number of Christians in Andhra Pradesh was about 6.8 lakh.
However, data proves some other phenomenon. As we know that Christianity has two major factions – Catholic and Protestant. If we talk about the Protestants, there are multiple branches within, the largest one being Lutheran Church, and as per their website, they have more than 30 lakh members in Andhra Pradesh alone. So, the number of about 7 lakh is already surpassed in one branch of the church only, just think the actual numbers of Christians in the State.
A recent TV interview of sitting YSRCP MP from Narsapuram, Raghu Rama Krishna Raju confessed that a large scale conversion took place in Andhra Pradesh and actually the population of Christians might have crossed 25%. It is an irony that there is no discussion on such an important issue and no hue and cry either.
We believe the reason for hiding this information could be due to the Government-sponsored benefits. Despite a large number of Government schemes for Christians including some benefits to Christian, converts from Scheduled Caste, reservations in educational institutions and jobs are only available to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.
SC’s can only be of Hindu or allied religions, not Islam or Christianity. Many converts to Christianity from SC’s are not showing their new religious identity for fear of loss of their reservation benefits. It is to be remembered that this tactic is used in the other Indian States as well. Converts do not change their names on conversion to Christianity.
This is proved many times, multiple senior IAS officers in Andhra, who claim SC status for their Government are actually converts. Even the Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy is a Christian. The Home Minister is a Christian, the DGP of Andhra is a convert. Even the Andhra Intelligence Chief, Tirupati Tirumala Devasthan Chairman, Andhra’s Education Minister, and more than 50% of Andhra Cabinet Ministers are indeed converted Christians. The most numbers of Disctirct Collectors are converted Christians.
Jagan Government is spending tax payer’s money on Christians. Last year, his Government hiked the financial assistance for Christian pilgrims going to Jerusalem, from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 60,000. In August 2019, the Government declared that it would provide an honorarium of Rs. 5,000 per month to all Pastors. It is also working to launch housing schemes and financial assistance for the poorer sections of the Christian community only.
It is very much true to call Andhra Pradesh a ‘Christian Pradesh’ now.