Will it be a Gift or a Curse?
An act was brought to protect the Hindu Temples and properties called as Endowments Act. Similarly there is another act to protect the Masjid’s and Muslim properties called as Waqf Board Act. Through these both Acts, the state government has direct access to involve and intervene in the issues related to properties of Hindus and Muslims. These properties directly lie within the purview of government.
However, till today there is no specific Act for Christian churches and Properties. All the properties of different denominations of Christians lie with the various committees of these denominations.
The foreign Christian missionaries have purchased vast lands during the British regime to construct hospitals, churches, hostels, colleges, schools in India. After Independence, when these missionaries left, they formed various Christian committees with members of these denominations to maintain these properties in the interest of Gospel, charity, development & Education. Their motive was to bring downtrodden Christians at par with the Hindu landlords and Brahmins by giving them good education and health. Through their efforts only, Dalith Christians, scheduled castes, backward classes are able to obtain education, as education was confined to few upper castes during the rule of kings, zamindars and landlords etc. So these missionaries are the reason that 90% of population has seen drastic changes in India.
But slowly, these imitations which influenced the Indian community are now losing importance and some are nonexistent today, as the Indian Christian Committees that took over the Missionaries to manage these properties have sold them to non Christians for their selfish motives. Some of the best schools during those times, playgrounds and other Christian properties are sold away.
All these properties are lost as there is no Act to protect the Christian prosperities in India. Former CM of Andhra Pradesh YS RajaSekhar Reddy, wanted to enact a Bill “Christian Properties Protection Bill” in the assembly to protect the Christian properties. He ordered a probe into illegal occupation of properties of Christian missionaries and educational institutions in the state. He even constituted a House Committee to study on these issues, and they submitted a report to introduce a bill similar to Endowments Ac, Waqf Act for Christian properties properly.
Sadly, the Bill was never introduced in the assembly as it was opposed by few Roman Catholic denominations as they do not want any government interference in matters that fall under their purview. Their worry is that governments could not protect the lands that belong to Waqf board and endowments departments from being encroached.
Now we see lot of opposition to Christians in the country and their religious freedom is curbed, it’s time that a “Christian Properties Protection Bill” is to be introduced to protect Christian Properties in the state and country.