By Jose Kavi
New Delhi, August 6, 2019: The Church in India will observe August 10 as a “Day of Mourning” for Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
“Throughout India, August 10 is being observed as ‘Day of Mourning’ in all the churches. Rallies, demonstrations and candle vigils are conducted and specials prayers are offered in the churches,” says a press release from the Office of Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes under the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India.
In the national capital, the office will collaborate with the National Council of Churches (NCCI) and National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC) to hold a special program at Jantar Mantar near the Parliament building, a venue marked for public protest.
The program will begin at 10 pm and last for two hours, according to a press release from the Catholic bishops’ conference.
NCCI is the national body of Protestant and Orthodox Churches and their associations and centers in India.
“We request your presence for the Day of Mourning observance … and support the marginalized minorities,” says the press release.
The Constitution (Scheduled Caste) order 1950 was signed on August 10, 1950, by the then President of India that says that “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste.”
This order was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net.
Civil Writ petition 180/2004 praying the deletion of paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Caste) order 1950 has been pending in the Supreme Court for the past 14 years. Thus Constitutional rights for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims are denied based on religion for the past 68 years,” the press release regretted.
Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin has observed the ‘Day of Mourning’ on August 10 since 2010.