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India: The caste system exists also among Christians and Muslims

Sunday 13 March 2016, by siawi3


Updated: March 11, 2016 05:32 IST

Dalit Christians protest for SC status

Sweta Goswami

In a show of strength, Dalit Christians from across the country came together here on Thursday demanding that the Scheduled Caste status be extended to both them and Dalit Muslims. The rally, held at Jantar Mantar, saw participation by dozens of Christian religious heads, who appealed to the government to end discrimination based on religion.

Bishop Neethinathan, the chairperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, said: “Even after 65 years of Independence, we are struggling for our rights. Sikhs first were included into the Act and later Buddhists were also given the status. Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims have been demanding SC status since, but to no avail.” The matter is with the Supreme Court but the case was supposed to be heard by a Higher Bench, which has not been done, he added.

Samuel Jeyakumar, the executive secretary of the National Council of Churches in India, said: “We demand that paragraph III of the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order, 1950, which excludes Dalits among Christians and Muslims from its purview, be scrapped.” The rally was organised by the National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christians.