The Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission, after reports stating that the state government was evicting minorities- be it Dalits, Christians or Muslims- from the temple lands, has issued notices to the Andhra Pradesh government. The issue came to light after India Today reported the blatant disregard of the government.
The non-Hindus were barred from working on the grounds that the land which belonged to a Hindu temple or mutt could not be cultivated by a non-Hindu.
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- The State Minorities Commission took cognisance of the issue after India Today reported how the AP government started evicting minority farmers from temple land.
- The Commission said that thousands of such farmers were being affected on account of the state government’s move of “evicting them and cancelling their lease and collecting advance rentals.”
- The Commission has sought a reply on the issue from the Secretary of the Revenue Department of the AP government by July 4.
The Andhra Pradesh government started serving notices to the tenant farmers from minority communities- Dalits, Christians or Muslims- earlier this month. The farmers were asked to hand over the land under their possession to the state government.
Further, the Dalit tenants had to submit a certificate from the Church which would declare that they were not practicing Christianity, in order to continue working on the temple lands. The Muslims, on the other hand, were barred from taking up any work on these lands.
The notices came after the government directed its officials to start evicting the farmers belonging to minority community from the endowment lands. This was apparently done on the grounds that the land which belonged to a Hindu temple or a mutt could not be cultivated by a non-Hindu.
This move came after the government, in November 2015, issued an order regarding this. The order, however, was being implemented now with the beginning of the new agricultural season, when the land lease is renewed.