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ICC Note: The government in Andhra Pradesh, India is directing officials to evict all non-Hindu tenants from endowment lands that belong to a Hindu temple. Christians that wish to stay on the land are required to provide a certificate, stating that they no longer practice Christianity. Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in 2014, Christians in India have been increasingly targeted by radical Hindu nationalists. The nationalist groups often persecute Christians, especially pastors, and pressure them to convert to Hinduism.

6/25/2016 India (India Times) – In a controversial move, the Andhra Pradesh government has directed officials to start evicting Dalit Christian and Muslim farmers from endowment lands on grounds that no land belonging to a Hindu temple or mutt can be cultivated by a non-Hindu. The move follows a government order issued in November 2015 but which is being implemented now at the beginning of the agriculture season when land leases are renewed.

Earlier this month, the Andhra government began serving notices on tenant farmers to immediately hand over the land under their possession. Dalit tenants were asked to produce a certificate from the church declaring that they are not practising Christianity to continue farming in temple lands, while Muslims were barred from taking up cultivation in temple lands under the new rules.

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