Chennai, August 16, 2019: With pre-testing for Census 2021 currently underway, a political party in Tamil Nadu has called for the enumeration of Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin in the Scheduled Caste list.
D. Ravikumar of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK, Liberation Panthers Party) has reiterated its demand that Dalit persons belonging to Christian or Muslim faiths be extended reservation in government institutions for education and employment. Not extending reservation to Dalits of all faiths is tantamount to denying their Constitutional rights to practice a religion of their choice, the party said.
VCK chief and Chidambaram MP Thol Thirumavalavan says the caste structure of this religion, which discriminates on the basis of birth, has touched all religions and ruined them. “Thus, whichever religion one practices, the oppressed are subject to discrimination. Despite people in power being aware of this, they display inequality by not including Dalit Christians in the Scheduled Caste list. This has to change,” he said in a statement.
Party’s general secretary and Villupuram MP D. Ravikumar said the case regarding this demand has been languishing in the Supreme Court for nearly two decades. “The Ranganath Mishra Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the National Minority Commission have all given a favourable recommendation in this regard. But the UPA didn’t implement it,” he pointed out.
Explaining further, he said, “Article 25 of the Constitution gives citizens the right to practice any religion. In doing so, no one should be denied their rights. Just on account of someone converting to another faith, reservation right being taken away is denying their choice of faith. Moreover, even those who converted generations and centuries ago are known as Dalit Christians. Faith may change but the caste discrimination continues. They don’t have the social protection, they can’t get justice under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.”