Dalit Christians & Muslims: National Protest in Delhi

November 1, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india, Persecution

Dalit ChristiansNCDC – National Council of Dalit Christians (National Collective of Dalit Christian Originations Movements), NCCDC – National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christian (Forum of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India National Council of Churches in India) and all well-wishers and sympathizers of the movement have organised a National protest in Delhi on 11th December, 2013.

Demand: Scheduled Castes Status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.

Background Info:

Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims are denied the Scheduled Castes (SC) rights for the past 63 years. The Union Government failed to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950, Para 3, which discriminates against them solely on the basis of religion, even after it was done to extend SC status to Sikh and Buddhist Dalits on a par with Hindu Dalits. Though Union Government promised it several times to Christian and Muslim Dalits, it is not done.

A Civil Writ Petition (No 180/ year 2004) was filed in the Supreme Court of India, challenging the Constitutional validity of the Para 3 of the said Order, promulgated by the then President of India and appealing for its deletion. The case was heard by a three Judges Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India. The then UPA Government-1 told the Supreme Court of India that it would ask the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) headed by Ranganath Misra, retired Chief Justice of India, to study the issue and recommend and that it would take a decision based on it.

After a nationwide study, the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report (Ranganath Misra Commission Report) was submitted to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in May 2007 itself, which the Government kept under the carpet for 2 1/2 years. Thanks to the pressure from some of MPs, it was placed in the Parliament in December 2009, but without the ATR – Action Taken Report.

On further hearing by the Supreme Court Bench on 23-01-2008, the Hon’ble Additional Solicitor General sought eight weeks’ time for the Government to take a decision and file its response; but no decision has been taken for six years till today.

The Government then sought the opinion of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), which duly considered it and endorsed the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report’s (Ranganath Misra Commission’s) recommendation to extend the Scheduled Castes (SC) status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Subsequently, the National Commission for Minorities also, after an in depth study, strongly recommended the same. As directed by the Supreme Court of India, both the above said Commissions (NCSC and NCM) have filed reply, which is a positive one.

In line with the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report (Ranganath Misra Commission’s Report), leaders of most of the main political parties and prominent Dalit leaders have written to the Prime Minister strongly recommending the demand. Many State Governments and Chief Ministers have also strongly recommended the same.

But the UPA Government is deliberately delaying the matter for the past 9 years, which is against the vital interests of the Christian and Muslim minorities. The Government neither implements the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report’s (Ranganath Misra Commission’s) recommendation nor files a reply (Counter Affidavit-Written Statement) to the query of the Supreme Court of India, even after having the hearings more than 12 times since January 2008.

Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims all over India as well as the entire minority communities are gravely disappointed and agitated. They are now forced to stage a National Protest, if the UPA Government fails to meet the following –

Demands:

  • The UPA Government must take speedy steps to implement National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report’s (Ranganath Misra Commission’s) recommendation well before the general election 2014, in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament itself.
  • The UPA Government should immediately file a reply (Counter Affidavit-Written Statement) to the query of the Supreme Court of India in this case, putting an end to its deliberate delaying tactics during the past, about 9 years.

Christians / Muslims / Dalit Organizations / Movements and secular-minded people from all over India, including bishops, priests and nuns cutting across denominations will participate. Muslim NGOs and other religious leaders, besides prominent Indians and a wide spectrum of politicians will join hands in the protest.

All gathering in Delhi on 11th December, 2013 (Wednesday) in support of the extension of Scheduled Castes status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Do your bit to assist in whatever way you can. We are counting on you.

– franklin caesar

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