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State Government asks Dalit Christian and Muslim Farmers to quit Temple Lands in Andhra Pradesh

Under the new order by AP Government, Muslim and Christian farm tenants are forbidden to work the lands of Hindu temples

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Land in Andhra Pradesh (Representational Image). Image source: www.propveda.com
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  • The government only wants Hindus to cultivate temple lands
  • The order was issued in November 2015 but has now been put into action, as leases on lands need to be renewed
  • Dalits were asked for proof from Church that they are not practicing Christianity

There was an order issued in November of 2015 stating that the Andhra Pradesh government forbid Dalit Christians and Muslims from cultivating Hindu temple lands. This order is now being put into action as it is the beginning of the agricultural season when land leases get renewed. The Andhra government began taking action earlier this month. They issued notices to tenant farmers saying they needed to hand over the land immediately.

Temples in Andhra Pradesh (Representational Image). Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Temples in Andhra Pradesh (Representational Image). Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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Dalit tenants (those from the lowest caste system) were asked to provide paperwork from the church. This paperwork was needed as proof to show that they are not practicing Christianity. In recent times, many members of this lowest caste system have converted to Christianity. Since many of the Dalits have not changed their names, it is hard to tell who is practicing Christianity and who is not.

A senior endowments commissioner stated, “We’ve issued notices to Dalit farmers to obtain certificates from the church in accordance with the GO.” This worries some of the Dalits. They fear if they do not receive the correct paperwork from the church in time, they will lose the lease on the land, said the TOI report.

Muslims, on the other hand, were completely banned from cultivating the temple lands under the new rules.

The continuation of current land leases directly correlated with the new kharif season. Since the rules and guidelines have been changed, things will change with this kharif season. The order clearly states, “No person professing a religion other than Hinduism is entitled to obtain lease either through tender-cum-public auction or otherwise.”

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According to the TOI report, There have been different responses to this new order. Habib-ur-Rehman, a Muslim United Front member claims the order is weird, “For that matter, 80 per cent of tenants of Jumma Masjid in Guntur are non-Muslims.” Traditionally the temples in Andhra are cultivated by tenant farmers. They control nearly 3 lakh acres of the farmland; 30 percent of them are Dalits.

One example of this is the Sri Raghu Rama temple in Gollapalli in the Krishna district. There are over 1,200 acres owned by this temple, with 1,568 farmers tending to the land. Of these farmers, 199 are Muslims, 204 are SCs and five are tribals. All of these farmers have been notified by Temple authority of the changes in law.

Similarly, the tenant farmers who work the 300 acres of land of the Sri Venugopala Swamy temple are Muslims. In this case though, police authorities were brought along to help the field officers move the tenants off the land if they failed to produce the correct paperwork.

-This report is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    This should be looked into immediately. You cannot separate people on the basis of religion at least in the field of agriculture which is the main occupation of most of the Indians

  • Aparna Gupta

    One cannot ask anyone to leave their lands on the name of religion. This is totally non sense.

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The Web Developer Requests Authorities Not To Leave Half Of The World In Dark

Despite the challenges, Berners-Lee said he was optimistic about the future of the internet.

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World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee speaks during an interview at the Mozilla Festival 2018 in London. VOA

British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, appealed on Monday for companies and governments not to leave behind half of the world population yet to have internet access, which includes billions of women and girls.

Berners-Lee told the opening of the Europe’s largest technology conference that everyone had assumed his breakthrough in 1989, that connected humanity to technology, would lead to good things – and it had for a while.

But he said the internet was “coming of age” and going awry, with fake news and issues with privacy, hate speech and political polarization, as well as a growing digital divide between those in richer and poorer countries.

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He called on companies and governments to join a “contract for the web” by next May in order to rebuild trust in the internet and find new ways to monetize, regulate and ensure fair and affordable access to the online world.

“Everything we do … to make the web more powerful, it means we increase the digital divide,” Berners-Lee, 63, told the opening of the ninth edition of the Web Summit, dubbed “the Davos for geeks,” that attracts up to 70,000 people. “We’ve an obligation to look after both parts of the world.”

Berners-Lee highlighted studies showing that half of the world population will be online by next year – but the rate of take-up was slowing considerably, potentially leaving billions cut off from government services, education and public debate.

His concerns were echoed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who stressed the need for a “digital future that is safe and beneficial to all” to meet the United Nation’s global goals of ending inequality and extreme poverty by 2030.

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In 2016 the United Nations passed a resolution to make disruption of internet access a violation of human rights.

Google’s head of philanthropy, Jacqueline Fuller, said it was huge milestone for the web to reach 30 next year, adding her company was one of 50 organizations to have already signed up to the pact developed by Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation.

Other supporters include Facebook, British billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson and the French government.

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“This is also a great opportunity for us,” Fuller told the Web Summit. “Women and girls are much less likely to have access (to the internet).”

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Despite the challenges, Berners-Lee said he was optimistic about the future of the internet.

“The ad-based funding model doesn’t have to work in the same way. It doesn’t have to create clickbait,” he said. (VOA)