By S. Babu Chinnappan
New Delhi, Dec. 4, 2018: Demonstration with Dalit drums, folk songs and music was held on December 4 in New Delhi demanding justice of Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
“If you don’t listen to our voices at least listen to our drums,” said Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) addressing the demonstration at Jantar Mantar, a venue for public protest near the Indian Parliament House.
Many political and religious leaders expressed their support for the demand of Christian and Muslim communities for the Scheduled Caste right to their Dalit brethren.
The protest was organized by the Dalit Christian Artists Coordination Committee. Adavu cultural team from Tamil Nadu performed the Dalit Drum ‘Parai.’ ‘Nine is Mine,’ a child right group’s children, also performed their drums.
Father Jervis D’Souza, CBCI deputy secretary general, said that the government should protect the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, provide them legal protection and promote their development by extending their due Scheduled Caste rights.
Ali Anwar, a former member of parliament, said “It is a sad situation of the country that the successive governments do not give the rightful demand of the SC status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.”
Annie Raja, general secretary of National Federation of Indian Women, said “Parai the Dalit drum should be the instrument to demand out rights and we will uphold our Dalit drums to demand out rights.”
The demonstrators demanded from the federal government the following:
1. To give directions to furnish the reply of Government on the suits pending in Supreme Court on the issue of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims
2. To initiate steps to bring a Bill in Parliament to extend Scheduled Caste Rights to Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin.