Kerala bishops submit memorandum requesting equal federal grants for Christians
“Christians are losing their rightful benefits. We want a peaceful solution to all these issues,"
Bishops in Kerala submit a memorandum to state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan requesting him to end discrimination against Christians by sharing the federal grants among religious minorities in proportion of their percentage.
In the memorandum submitted on October 27, representatives of Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church complained that 80 percent of the educational and employment federal grants meant for religious minorities goes to Muslims and that Christians only receive less than 20 percent of the support.
Considering the demographics, the representatives maintain that Muslims should not receive more than 60 percent of the grants, while Christians should receive at least 40 percent of the share.
In Kerala, 99.67 percent of the population includes Hindus, Muslims and Christians. As per the 2011 census data, Hindus make up to 54.73 percent of the state population, while Muslims and Christians make up to 26.56 and 18.38 percent, respectively.
Other religious minorities like Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis make less than 0.33 percent of the population.
“The benefits are not distributed equally among the minorities according to their population ratio in the state,” said the memorandum.
These government benefits allocated to religious minorities improve their socioeconomic situation by offering grants for education and income-generating projects.
The Christian leaders also raised concerns over government quotas and job opportunities.
“Christians are losing their rightful benefits. We want a peaceful solution to all these issues,” said Father Alex Onampally, media commission secretary of the Syro-Malabar Church.
According to Father Onampally, Chief Minister Vijayan has promised to look into these concerns. The Christians hope these matters are addressed before the upcoming state election.