By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, March 12, 2019: A national rally in New Delhi on March 12 urged political parties to include in their election manifestos the reservation for Dalit Christians and Muslims.
“We have to see that our rights are rightly accepted. We should not lose our fight,” said Archbishop George Antonysamy of Madras Mylapore while addressing the rally.
The National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC) organized the rally with support from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and the National Council of Churches in India.
The rally started at 10 am from Janpath ended at Jantar Mantar, both close to the Indian parliament building.
Besides Archbishop Antonysamy, three bishops from Tamil Nadu joined the rally.
Monsignor Susai Sebastian, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Delhi, and Danam, a retired civil service officer and NCDC president led the rally.
Dhanam said the main purpose of the rally was to demand from the government Scheduled Caste status for Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
These groups are as socially, economically, and politically weak as their counterparts in Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim religions. Yet they are discriminated on the basis of religion, Dhanam regretted..
The rally demanded deletion of paragraph 3 of the Constitution Scheduled Caste Order 1950 that made reservation on the basis of religion.
Dalit Christians and Muslims have appealed to national and regional political parties to include in their election manifesto a promise to grant the Scheduled Caste Status to them.
The parities have not taken the issues of the Dalit Christians and Muslims seriously, Dhanam regretted. “The Dalit Christians should not lose the spirit but continue to fight to get the SC status.”
Bishop Anthonisamy Neethinathan of Chingleput, while addressing the gathering, said “It is not that we want justice but we demand justice so that the Dalit Christians and Muslims be treated equally”. He was the former chairperson of the CBCI SC/BC office.
Bishop Thomas Paulsamy of Dindugal, chairman of SC/ST/BC Commission for Tamil Nadu Regional Bishops’ Council, said they will hold a political meeting with the local political parties to take the SC status issue to the legislative assembly and to parliament.
Bishop Antonysamy Francis of Kumbakonam, another diocese in Tamil Nadu, said, “If we are ready to suffer we will win the game.”