Dalit Christians to hold rally in capital

Published 06 July 2010  |  
Church groups will organise a rally on July 21 to press the government to render equal status to Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin.

The rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi will urge the Indian government to amend para 3 of the Constitutional Scheduled Caste Order 1950 that dismantled the social, economic and educational benefits of Dalits who converted to Christianity.

Organised by the Protestant and Catholic churches under the banner National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), the rally will demand the government to implement the recommendations of National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCLRM) that called for equal status regardless of faith.

The NCLRM report which was tabled in the Parliament last December emphatically states that by embracing Christianity the economic status of a Dalit does not improve and therefore the reservation status must be extended to all Dalits irrespective of religion.

It also points that such discrimination goes against the articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution of India.

There are about 20 million Dalit Christians who have been deprived of their rights by para 3 of the 1950 Order which restricted reservation benefits only to Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists. Incidentally, all political parties except BJP have supported the deletion of the 'unjust' para.

"The lobbying for this long-pending cause has been gaining momentum recently especially after we met several politicians including Rahul Gandhi," said Franklin Caesar, National Coordinator of the National Council of Dalit Christians.

"The government will have to respond to the query of the Supreme Court to the Writ Petitions before August. There is hope that we would soon see justice for which we have been fighting since long. There cannot be any more delay. It is high time that government mete out justice," Caesar told Christian Today.

Earlier this year, church groups in Tamil Nadu had taken a 'Long March' from Kanyakumari to the destination Chennai where a memorandum was submitted to the Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

The March saw hundreds traversing through different districts carrying banners and placards that condemned religious discrimination and called for equal status.


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