Punjab: Struggling to make Christians living under cover of identity a vote bank

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When Charanjit Singh Channi was made the Chief Minister in Punjab, there was a lot of talk through social media from all around whether Charanjit Singh Channi has any relation with Christianity? Apart from this, many claims of his being associated with Christianity were made in social media.

After this, during the election campaign last week, he made a statement which became very popular. Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi said that he was born in Sikhism but he believed a lot in Jesus Christ, the God of Christians. He said that he has not converted to Christianity, but has faith in it.

Earlier in the last week of December last year, he had said that the Congress government of Punjab would set up a bench for comprehensive study and research on the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Holy Bible of Christians.

After this, recently Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu has said that “I assure that no one can cast an evil eye on Christianity till I am alive.” After this statement of Sidhu, the political excitement had increased a lot and various kinds of speculations were being made.

In fact, behind these statements made by these two top leaders of Punjab Congress, there is a big conspiracy policy being run by the Christian missionaries in the state, which was never discussed. On one hand it is said that the population of Christians in the state is very less, while on the other hand the truth is that a large number of Christian missionaries in Punjab have converted the local citizens to Christians.

Actually the Christian community in Punjab is divided into three classes. There are some of these who had accepted Christianity during the period of British Christian power. At the same time, there are some people who, even after converting, have reverence for the Dera Gurus.

The third category comprises those who may be most important during the upcoming assembly elections in Punjab. This class includes those people who come from the Dalit community and follow the Christian religion. However, these people have not converted to Christianity, documentally or shall we say officially.

The biggest reason behind not mentioning the conversion of religion in the documents officially even after these Christians of the Depressed Classes converted to Christianity is the benefit of reservation. Actually these people have adopted Christianity but still in the documents they describe themselves as Dalits.

Because of this, they easily get all the constitutional benefits available to the Scheduled Castes. If these people accept the change of religion in the government records, then the benefit of reservation given to them will end.

Christian leader Rohit Khokhar has also given an open statement on this matter. He said that 98% Christians in the state belong to the Dalit community. Apart from this, he also accepted that Christians who belong to the Dalit community have not officially accepted Christianity because they will stop getting reservation. Rohit Khokhar was earlier General Secretary of Bahujan Samaj Party in Punjab but has now joined Aam Aadmi Party.

Apart from these, Congress leader Roshan Joseph, Akali leader Anwar Masih and leaders like Dominic Mattoo and Sonu Jaffer as independents have also spoken of wider participation of the Christian community in Punjab.

The way in which all these leaders have focused Christians as the main issue in the election, the biggest reason is clearly that there are a lot of Christians in the state who are hiding their identity.

Such people can act like a big vote bank for any party in the upcoming assembly. This is the reason that from the Aam Aadmi Party to the Akali Dal and the Congress party are also gearing up to make these Christians, who are hiding their identity, to make their vote bank. (the narrative world)

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