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Orissa Dalit Christians & Muslims Rally Seeking SC Status *Dalit Liberation Sunday observed

December 19, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Dalit Christians MuslimsBhubaneswar: Christians of Odisha specially from Kandhamal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Bhabanipata, Cuttack, Puri, Jagatsinghpur and other districts came to Bhubaneswar for the implementation of the Ranganath Mishra’s recommendation to give Christians due reservation. Presently Christians are discriminated on the basis of religious and are not allowed to express their faith for fear of losing government benefits. Reservation benefits are given only to Hindhu schedule castes whereas Christian schedule castes are not illegible. Eminent freedom fighters have supported the move.
Peeved over delay in implementation of the recommendation made by Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission, a consortium of Dalit and minority organisations today demanded scheduled caste status for dalit Christians and dalit Muslims.

“We feel justice is delayed to dalit Christians and Muslims as the central government takes time to implement the recommendation of Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission,” Odisha Minority Forum president Swarupananda Patra told reporters.

Though the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities chaired by former Chief Justice Ranganath Mishra recommended SC status to dalit Christians and dalit Muslims, the government is delaying in taking any stand on the issue, said Thomas Michael, working president of National Council of Dalit Christians, Odisha.

Stating that justice delayed is justice denied, he pointed out that Justice Mishra had already made the recommendation in 2007.

“But the government is yet to inform the Supreme Court about its stand on the matter,” he said.

About 90 per cent of Christians are dalits, they said adding many poor and converted people were denied the facilities availed by the SC of other religion.

“Paragraph-3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 is discriminatory as dalits belonging to Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism are given SC status while scheduled castes of other Indian religions are denied the benefits of reservation policy,” Odisha Minority Forum, National Council of Dalit Christians, Odisha Chaper, CBCI Committee for SC, ST & BC, Odisha Chapter and National Council of Dalit Christians said in a statement.

“We will soon meet Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and request him to write a letter to Prime Minister in support of our cause,” said Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak, chairman, CBCI Committee for SC, ST & BC, Odisha chapter.

Solidarity with ‘Untouchables’


Dalit Liberation SundayNew Delhi, December 13, 2011: Parishes in India celebrated Dalit Liberation Sunday last weekend, with Christians renewing their commitment to those of Dalit origin who still suffer from the traditional practice of untouchability. The annual day is marked on the nearest Sunday to International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10. The theme this year was “Our God With the Struggling People.” The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the National Council of Churches in India support the celebration; special liturgical guidelines were sent to all the dioceses and the religious congregations.

“Indian society is still under the grip of caste culture that perpetuates ethos, attitudes, structures of inequality and dehumanizing untouchable practices,” a statement at the bishops’ Web site noted. “Contrary to the Gospel vision of Christ, ‘caste mentality’ prevails within the Christian community. ‘It violates the God-given dignity and equality of the human person. Human dignity and respect are due to the human person and any denial of this is a sin against God and humans. (See Statement on Caste by Catholic Bishops Conference of India, Tiruchirappalli, January, 4-14, 1982).”

The bishops’ site affirmed that Dalit Liberation Sunday has “instilled in the people of God the hope that God leads their struggle to demand equal rights for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims and the efforts to build inclusive communities of justice, peace and joy.”

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