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The CSF Open Letter – No Home for Christmas

April 11, 2011 by  
Filed under India, Orissa, Persecution

A 3 Year Old Dalit Christian Girl’s Blood Cries for Justice
Indian “BLACKS” Want USA to Take-up Dalit Christian & Persecution Issues


Dear Mr President,

We Indian Christians, especially those labeled Dalits or low-caste share a common thread with you. We seem to be the “BLACKS” of India, who for the last over 60 years are facing persecution, which increases by the day. In fact, our extended Dalit family members have been facing a more despicable plight at the hands of upper caste Hindus for centuries. We are glad that in this respect, America seems to have moved on, with your election as the first Black President and one born of a Muslim father. Race & Religion were defeated, with Indian lovers of secularism and human rights rejoicing too. We are committed to build an India that is truely secular and free, where the fruits of development are shared by all citizens according to one’s need.

We are therefore happy that you are here and request you to kindly impress upon the government to –

1) Grant benefits to Christians/Muslims of Dalit origin, as their counterparts from other faiths (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists…) enjoy.
2) Protect Christians persecuted by the brute majority – a harsh reality that gets worse, even as we write this letter to you.

An incident reported a couple of days back, illustrates the point. Top government officials in Orissa had to intervene to bury a Catholic girl in her village in the eastern India. “The timely intervention of government higher officials helped the dalit parents to bury their child”, A. Harish, a Christian leader said on 3 November, 2010. The 3-year-old girl developed some health complications and her parents admitted her in a hospital where she died on 31 October, 2010. The parents brought the girl’s body to Sonawadi, their village in Malkangiri district of the infamous Orissa state, for burial.

However Hindu fundamentalists, who form the majority in the village, refused to allow them to bury the girl. The parents complained to the local police and waited helplessly for police action, even as the girl’s body began to stink. It was only on the intervention of Christian community leaders, who took up the case with the state’s director general of the police, who in turn ordered his subordinate to look into the matter, that the Hindu villagers relented. Sadly, the parents could only bury the girl’s body two days after her death.

A similar case was reported in Karnataka where the communal right wing BJP is in power. Here the corpse of a Christian was not allowed to be buried and was flung around by the Hindutva brigade, with utterances that Christians are from America and hence need to be buried there. There are hundreds of reported instances, documented by secular society, official agencies and even courts. But thousands of such cases of basic human rights violations go unnoticed, as Christians are commanded by their faith to turn the other cheek.

The term “minorities” in India has come to mean everyone else other than Christians, with no equal opportunities. The British were prepared to give Christians reservations, when Pakistan was given to Muslims in 1947. But the community representatives refused reservations and voluntarily opted to be treated on par with non-Christians. Now Indian Christians find that not only are they denied their constitutional right, because of the faith they follow, but more so, Christians of every hue and colour are persecuted and tormented for their religion.

We do not desire any special treatment, but what is ours by way of being a citizen of this country. Is it too much to expect no attacks/persecution on the basis of religion, especially when we are the most peaceful community? Indian Christians also contribute to almost half of the non-government social services, given without any discrimination to all. The world leader that you are, we have great expectations from you, especially since; you will be discussing economics & politics, with the powers-that-be here. Don’t you think that the lives of millions marginalized/abused are more important? And hence, a mention to our rulers would be in order?

Dr. Ambedkar (1891-1956), the Dalit Messiah and the tallest human rights activist that India has produced, was also a Columbia University alumnus like you are. When he was alive and your mentor, Martin Luther King Jr. visited India, they could not meet and usher in a new age. You though, now have an opportunity to raise Dr. Ambedkar’s civil rights issues and bring succor to his teeming Dalit Christian/Muslim followers in dire need.

Until our emancipation, we remain,

The “BLACKS” of India
(Joseph Dias, General Secretary, The CSF)

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