CSI's plans to weed out bogus Christians

Jammalamadugu, April 28: The Church of South India in Rayalaseema is facing a strange predicament. In view of the ensuing elections to the church committees in the four districts under Rayalaseema diocese, the church authorities are facing uphill task in identifying genuine Christians belonging to the Scheduled Castes.

Several Christians, who were posing as SCs for the several benefits extended both by the government, are proving to be a major challenge especially in the backdrop of the election notification issued by the diocese bishop stressing on the members' eligibility.

There are 16 town committees and 20 divisions under the CSI's Rayalaseema diocese. And the 54 pastors functioning in the division have some 2000 churches under them, most of them being in rural areas. Election to the church committees are held once in every two years.

The eligibility factor is proving to be a major headache for two churches at Jammalamadugu, one each at Proddutur and Mydukur and two each in Cuddapah, Pulivendula, Adoni, Anantapur, Arogyavaram, Gooty, Guntakal, Madanapalle, Yemmiganur and Punganur.

Sources from church said the entire problem was with those who got their names registered as SCs purely to benefit from various government schemes.

According to the church rules, those converting to SCs for their selfish motives were not eligible to contest or even cast their vote in the church elections.

The elections have turned prestigious what with members in several places trying to mobilise support by showering money and liquor.

Clashes have been reported from some places due to the objections raised by the church authorities about the bona fides of candidates.

Against this backdrop, some of the churches have chosen to scrutinise the aspirants' caste certificate along with his family members' educational certificates to ascertain his community.

But this has not deterred some of the bougus Christians, who reportedly managed to obtain bogus caste certificate after greasing the palms of the Revenue officials.

Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: April 30, 2001
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