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08/13/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – Christians and Muslims belonging to the socially poor Indian Dalit caste gathered together on August 10th to observe a “black day”, demanding equal access to benefits as other religions within the caste. India’s caste system creates clear division within society that is also extremely divided religiously.

Their remembrance and activism marks the 69th anniversary of a controversial order that declared only Hindu Dalits are true Dalits. The presidential order in 1950 reserved social benefits for Hindu Dalits, although it was later amended twice in 1956 and 1990 to include Sikhs and Buddhists.

For two decades Christians and Muslims have called attention to their exclusion from these benefits that allows for their advancement. Benefits can include free education and access to high level positions.

The government claims these two groups will always be excluded because they do not abide by caste systems.

Dalit means “trampled upon” in Sanskrit. About 60% of India’s Christians are Dalit. One priest commented on the exclusion to UCA News saying, “We all know that justice delayed is justice denied. Yes, it is a long wait but we should not lose hope.”

Christians especially are not bound by caste systems or find their hope in government programs alone. Nonetheless, these disadvantages cause unnecessary hardship in their lives.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].