Christians from India’s lowest caste, called Dalits, are planning to hold a march on March 10 to demand equal rights. The government of India has given special rights and benefits to Dalits from Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh backgrounds, but have denied these rights and privileges to Dalits for Christian and Muslim backgrounds. Many Christians claim that this discrimination is intended to keep low caste Hindus from converting to Christianity because by doing so, those individuals would lose their special rights and benefits. Will India finally give equal rights to low caste Christians?
2/5/2016 India (UCAN) – Dalit Christians in India are planning a march to demand equal rights, including reservation in educational institutions and government jobs.
More than 20,000 people across the country are expected to take part in the march scheduled on March 10 in New Delhi that Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches are organizing jointly.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s office taking care of Dalit and indigenous people, the National Council of Churches in India, a joint forum of Protestant and Orthodox churches, and the National Council of Dalit Christians are the main organizers.
“It is our moral duty to fight against injustice. This would be one of the biggest protests by the Dalit Christians to demand equal rights,” Franklin Caesar, founder of the National Council of Dalit Christians, told ucanews.com.
The Sanskrit term Dalit means trampled upon and denotes the former untouchable castes within Hindu society. At least half of India’s some 25 million Christians are of Dalit origin. A 1950 presidential order denied government benefits, such as quotas in government jobs and educational institutions, meant for advancement of Dalits, on the grounds that Christianity does not recognize the caste system.