Census does not tell real population of Christians in Punjab: Leaders
Bishops and pastors of Pentecostal and para church organisations of Punjab said here on Saturday that the census, which is conducted by the government after a decade, did not tell the actual number of the Christians residing in Punjab.
While interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of the state-level assembly of the Christian leaders, organised at Virsa Vihar here, a Christian leader Imanul Rehmat Masih said, “In reality, our population is 7 to 10% in the state, but the latest census shows us less than 1% under a deep-rooted conspiracy against the fast emerging religion.”
“Despite our sizeable population in Punjab, no political party has given us representation in the state legislative assembly, Parliament and executive since the country got Independence, which is injustice with us,” he said. He further alleged that the successive governments had never addressed demands of our community, nor given them the rights they deserved for.
“Even, we are being deprived of the reservation under backward classes. When, any member of the Christian community applies for a reservation certificate, he is asked to produce conversion certificate which is impossible generally,” he added.
He also criticised the state government for not allotting him a ground for performing last rites of the dead as per Christian tenets.
When asked about their support to any political party in the upcoming assembly elections of 2017, the leaders said they would support a party that accepts their conditions.
Commenting on the alleged obstacles being created by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in the propagation of their religion, they said the constitution has given right to every citizen of the country to adopt any religion, according to his will and no direct and indirect restriction can be imposed on anyone.
They also formed a state-level united front of the bishops and pastors to fight for their rights. Masih was elected the front’s chairman, while Ulfat Raj was appointed president.