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ICC Note:
Christian Dalit women are something of a triple minority in India. Discriminated against for their religious identity, gender, and caste background, these women often struggle both socially and economically. Recently, Christian Dalit women formed a network in India to help promote rights for their marginalized community. Through this network, these women hope to foster leadership, promote education, and combat exploitation of their community in India. 
02/27/2017 India (UCAN) – Christian women from Dalit groups in India have formed a network to curb physical and sexual abuse, foster leadership and promote education for women.
“It is a first network of Dalit Christian women to express their concerns about discrimination and injustice,” Isabella Xavier, president of the newly formed Dalit Christian Women for Change told Feb. 24.
She was referring to some 40 Dalit Christian women from across India who gathered in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru Feb. 13 to set up this new national-level organization. That meeting was organized by the Indian bishops’ Commission for Dalits and Indigenous People.
“Dalits, especially women, do not have any identity. We are looked down upon as outcastes even within the church,” Xavier said.
Dalit means “trampled upon” in Sanskrit and is used to denote groups of so-called “untouchables” who are outside of India’s four-tier caste system.
Although abolished by law, untouchability in various forms continue and people of Dalit origin are not allowed to share water sources, public places and worship spaces. Some parishes in southern India have reportedly demarcated space for Dalit people in churches and cemeteries.
India has some 27 million Christians and at least 60 percent of them come from Dalit or indigenous backgrounds who struggle socially and economically.
Christian Dalits suffer further because the government denies them state benefits set aside for Hindu Dalits. Indian law allows for job and educational quotas to Hindu Dalits as a means for affirmative action but denies them to Christians and Muslims on the grounds that their religions do not recognize the caste system.

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