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ICC Note:

Thirteen Christian families in a small village in India’s Jharkhand state were recently denied a food ration they depend upon because of their religious identity as Christians. Families in this small village all receive a food ration from the Indian government due to the extreme poverty that persists in their community. The denial of the ration follows after the families refused to donate funds to a Hindu festival being put on by the village leadership. Social boycotts against Christians in India are common. Often these boycotts are used like a siege to either drive the Christians families from the village or forcefully convert them to Hinduism. 

10/15/2017 India (Asia News) – In a small village in Jharkhand, food rations have been denied to 13 poor tribal families only because they are Christian. Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported the episode to Asia News revealing that in the Indian state, “the right of the poor to food has been denied, utilizing the policies of conversion. The social boycott of people in extreme need is not just a question of human rights or a religious affair, but it wounds the soul of the individual deep inside. ”

The case occurred in the village of Rehaladag, in the administrative section of Pasarar, Latehar district. It is a small town of nearly 100 houses where tribes of different ethnicities live: Thakur, Sondik, Sa, Uroon and Bhuyian.

The families in question are of Uroon and Bhuyian origin and converted to Christianity. They hold the food card granted by the state to the deprived persons. Christians report that the problems began in September when the villagers asked them to pay a “tax” of 551 rupees [7 euros] to fund the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. Following their refusal, it was decided that Christians will no longer receive the government subsidies they are entitled to under the conditions of their extreme indigence.

Interviewed by BBC, Vinay, the official in charge of the distribution of food rations, said he had “received a written order with the ban on giving food to those who became Christian.” When asked to clarify who had received the order, he replied: “All 20 people involved in the distribution.”

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