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Dalit Christians losing patience; Protest demands restoration of rights
ICC Note:
Christian and Muslim Dalit’s, along with their spiritual leaders and supporters, took to the streets of India together in protest. The government currently excludes them  from special rights and protection, and with this march they are demanding equality. They say, “Discrimination based on religion is an evil we must fight.”
By Dibin Samuel
08/1/2012 India (ChristianToday)- Upping the ante against the Central government, leaders from the Dalit Christian and Muslim communities today called for mass protests and state-wide campaigns to force the UPA-led government to act on their demands before the 2014 elections.
In a show of unity, several hundreds of Dalit Christians and Muslims joined by activists, priests, nuns and church leaders, took out a ‘Parliament March’ and dharna in the capital demanding the restoration of the Schedule Caste rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Carrying banners and donning T-shirts with the slogan ‘UPA – Reply to the Supreme Court’, the protesters braved the rains to register their anger against the government’s procrastination despite studies and specially-designated panels denouncing the discrimination based on religious affiliation.
Para 3 of the Constitution Order 1950 excludes Scheduled Caste origins converted to Christianity and Muslims the right to special rights and protections. The Order was amended for the inclusion of Sikhs and Buddhists in 1956 and 1990 respectively.
Speaking at the dharna organised by the National Council of Dalit Christians in Jantar Mantar, Delhi, Archbishop of Delhi Vincent Concessao said the discrimination against Dalit Christians and Muslims goes against the Constitution which is secular in nature.
“We are to not only to promote what is good, we must also oppose what is evil. Discrimination based on religion is an evil we must fight. It is our duty and our responsibility,” said Concessao.
Criticising the UPA Government for its ‘delay tactics’, Prof Mary John, chairman of the National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), said the government was not honest and was complicating the matter through false hopes and promises.
The discrimination, he said was done selectively against Christians and Muslims as other minority groups have already found their place in the SC net.
“We have to find new ways of fighting the government. It has been sabotaging our efforts and coming with empty promises each year. During the cabinet meeting last year, instead of redressing the discrimination, they called for another study on caste census,” he said.
Prof John urged for a political decision and stand before the 2014 elections so the government can bestow the legitimate rights of Dalit Christians and Muslims.

“The government responds when people use violence to express their anger, but they take us lightly for being the weak and voiceless minorities,” he said, adding that state-wide campaigns must be taken for awakening the public and putting pressure on the government.

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