02/07/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – The Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh, located in India’s southeast, unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday that would allow low caste Christians to benefit from the country’s Scheduled Caste Reservation. From the country’s founding, low caste Christians and Muslims have been denied access to India’s Scheduled Caste benefits because of their religious identity.
The resolution was introduced by Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and was seconded by two Telugue Desam Party (TDP) MLAs. The resolution was then unanimously passed by the state assembly.
Essentially, the resolution appeals to the Central Government of India. It asks for low caste Christians to be allowed to benefit from the country’s Scheduled Caste Reservation system.
The Scheduled Caste Reservation system was set up to promote members of India’s low caste communities who faced historic oppression, inequality, and discrimination. Beneficiaries of the system are given access to various schemes intended to promote development including access to higher education, government jobs, and even food subsidies.
Through presidential order, Christians and Muslims who converted from low caste communities are denied access to these benefits. Many see this as a government scheme to discourage low caste Hindus from converting to other religions.
If accepted by the Central Government, this resolution could promote a new spring of religious freedom for India’s low caste communities.
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