Christians Denied Education Face Discrimination From India's Government

Religious minorities in India have long faced persecution and resentment by dominant religious groups, but new developments indicate that the discrimination is not solely attributable to religious groups as government entities also become complicit in the acts.

Reports indicate that tribal Christians living in rural areas of India have been continually denied services due to their faith and minority status.

Christians who reside in India's eastern state of Orissa, an area known for intense fighting between religious groups like Hindus and Christians, have claimed they are being denied access to government scholarships for education based entirely on their religious affiliation.

Local residents expressed anger over claims that authorities in the Kandhamal District have continually denied to issue government documents that are needed for local Christians to attend primary schools, colleges and universities. The injustice is the product of a government program that was created to help disadvantaged people in a Hindu dominated area of the country, according to reports from Christian Solidarity.

This most recent controversy centered on education has increased tensions in an already volatile situation in the Kandhamal District, where over 100 people died in anti-Christian protests in December 2007.

One of the hopeful students affected by these latest developments is Prakash Pradhan, from the Kandho tribe in Pikoredi village. He explained how local government officials told him he would not receive the required documents to attend school because he was a practicing Christian.

"During the past four months I visited the offices of Tahasildar at least ten times," Pradhan told "Finally they told me I would not be given the tribal certificate, because I am a Christian."

The discrimination is even affecting non-Christian family members who are running out of hope that they will be able to attend school one day.

Kautilya Pradhan of the Nuagam village claimed he had previously applied for the so-called "caste certificate," that would allow him to go to school with upper castes in June 2012; he was denied because his mother is a Christian.

"It's is about five months now and I lost all hope of receiving a caste certificate," Pradhan told "I am denied a tribal certificate because my mother is a Christian."

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