INVITATION TO COMBAT THE PANDEMIC OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN INDIA

aiccwzerotolerance365 DAYS ZERO TOLERANCE TO GENDER BASED VIOLENCE: MAKE IT HAPPEN NOW is a campaign launched by All India Council of Christian Women (AICCW) which is the women’s wing of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) in response to the increasing Gender based violence in India.
The campaign was inaugurated by Rt. Rev. Dr. Taranath S. Sagar, President of NCCI during its Executive Committee meeting in Bangalore on 27th February 2015. “Prophetic church cannot remain silent when our daughters and mothers are being raped, when our roads are becoming unsafe for our daughters to go to school, when our indigenous sisters are trafficked and displaced from their home as forests are bought by multi-national Companies, when our children are sold for a sack of rice, when women are battered by their loved ones at home, or burnt for dowry, or our daughters are deprived of food and education” asserts Dr. Saramma Varghese, President of AICCW. “We have chosen International Women’s Day to promote this campaign” states Dr. Varghese.
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NCCI Statement: Secular Character of India under Threat!

SECULAR CHARACTER OF INDIA UNDER THREAT!

The National Council of Churches in India expresses its deep concern over growing religious intolerance in our country, and targeted violence against the Christian community. The sustained hate campaigns have resulted in vicious attacks on our people, places of worship and our institutions. Such incidents of violence are taking place right across the country—Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. In the recent past, they are even happening in the national capital.

In addition to such attacks, there are other strategic ways in which efforts are being made to destabilize Christian faith and witness:

  • Declaring 25th December, one of our holiest days, as ‘Good Governance Day’, showing no regard for the long standing tradition of the celebration of Christmas in the country, which has been a public holiday;
  • The ghar wapsi campaign promoted by Hindutva groups is an overt and aggressive attempt to convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, portraying Christianity as a ‘foreign’ religion, despite evidence that Christians have been living on the sub-continent right from the first century.
  • Though the Prime Minister had assured the Christian community of ‘freedom of choice’ regarding religion on 17 February 2015, and had earlier called for a 10 year moratorium on communal disharrmony in his independence day speech of 15 August 2014, he has made no explicit condemnation of the attacks on Christians and the increasing Hindutva propaganda Read more

NCCI Condemns Attacks on and Abduction of Christians in the Middle-East!

NCCI Condemns Attacks on and Abduction of Christians in the  Middle-East!

The National Council of Churches in India expresses profound sorrow and strongly condemns  the continuing abduction of Christians by the IS jihadists in North-East Syria, Iraq, Egypt and other Middle East countries generating a terrorizing situation of violence and death, thereby forcing people to relocate with a feeling of abandonment and hopelessness.

We strongly denounce the continued attacks on minorities, especially the recent attacks on churches in villages, the indiscriminate bloody annihilation of innocent lives, and the rampant abduction that is taking place in Syria, Iraq and other countries.

We resolutely condemn such hideous actions and stoutly challenge the ideologies of terror and violence guided by the fundamentalist communal misinterpretation of religious beliefs.

While we express our solidarity with our abducted fellow believers and their grieving families and churches, we demand the release of all  the hostages.

We sincerely commit ourselves to work with all peace-loving agencies for the rescue of the victims and for bringing peace in Middle-East Nations.

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Seminar Report – Smart Church: Youth initiatives for an efficient, vibrant, communicating Church

DSC00256_crA seminar entitled “Smart Church: Youth initiatives for an efficient, vibrant, communicating Church” was held on February 17, 2015 at Azariah House at National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) campus in Nagpur. It was jointly organized by NCCI’s  Commission on Communications & Relations and the Commission on Youth. The purpose of this seminar was to provide space for young people from our Churches to come together bringing their own experiences and ideas towards enhancing the ministries of the Church, especially in their organizational aspects, and particularly in terms of consolidating the communication systems, tools and processes. The program was attended by 28 participants from several protestant denominations as well as Roman Catholic orders.

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Requesting proper authority to ban the entering of Mr Pravin Togadia to Kondhmal

Utkal Christian Council acts in the context of the rising phenomenon of Hatred Speeches


The UTKAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
(A Regional Council of the National Council of Churches of India)

   Regd. Office: Bishop’s House, Mission Road, Cuttack- 753 001, Orissa Phone:0671-3250268, Mobile:1406627, Emails: jrpatro2000@yahoo.com; doccni@gmail.com

To
The Superintendent of Police, Kandhamal
Phulbani, Dist: Kandhamal, Orissa.
Sub: Request for ban on entering  of Mr. Praveen Togadia into Kandhamal District on 27th Feb 2015 which is likely to  disturb peace and communal harmony prevailing in the state because of his provocative and inflammatory speech.  
 
Sir,
Greetings from Utkal Christian Council.
1. This is to inform you that the U.C.C. is the regional Council of Churches in Orissa for furthering the objectives of member Churches and to  represent the grievances of the churches of Odisha and  protestant churches in particular.
2.This has come to the knowledge of the undersigned that Mr. Praveen Togadia is coming to  Kandhamal District on 27th Feb 2015 for conducting a public meeting which is likely to  disturb peace and communal harmony prevailing in the state because of  his provocative and inflammatory  speech. People of Odisha especially of Kandhamal have not yet forgotten his calculated inflammatory provocative speech which triggered communal violence in Kandhmal and spreaded over alarmingly to other parts of the state and resulted in serious destruction of life and property of people including property of the Government. The people of Kandhamal District are still living in anxiety and fear.  The visit of Mr Togadia’s visit will have consequences both immediate and long range, as we know from past experience.

Vandalism and attacks on Churches in India condemned – Press note from Church of South India

Please see here the press note from Church of South India (CSI) condemning the attacks on Churches in India and demanding action.

PRESS RELEASE

TO CONDEMN THE ATTACKS AND VANDALISM ON CHURCHES IN NEW DELHI BY THE CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA

Members Present:

  1. The Most Rev. Dr. G. Dyvasirvadam , Moderator, Church of South India
  2. The Rt. Rev. Thomas K. Oommen, Deputy Moderator
  3. Rev. Dr. D.R. Sadananda, General Secretary
  4. Adv. C. Robert Bruce, Honorary Treasurer
  5. The Rt. Rev. Dr. G. Devakadasham,  Former Moderator, Church of South India &      Bishop in CSI Kanyakumari Diocese
  6. Rev. T. Devaputhiran, Administrative Secretary, CSI Madras Diocese
  7. Mr. Arthur Sadhanandham, Executive Committee Member, Church of South India
  8. Dr. Vimal Sukumar, CSI Medak Diocese

 

The recent vandalism and attacks on five Churches in different directions of the city of New Delhi has evoked a strong sense of insecurity and anguish among the Christian community in India.  This is an alarming atmosphere apparently linked to the Ghar Wapsy Programme organized by some religious fanatics.  There is a strong feeling that the Central Government is not doing enough to reassure the minority communities in the country in spite of the continued orchestrated and systematic attack and vandalism on Churches which included miscreants, breaking open the Churches and desecrating hol y objects and also setting a church on fire.

The Church at large in India demands that the Government should initiate a judicial enquiry and also take steps to ensure repair and restoration of the damaged churches. The Prime Minister is still silent on the issue. With the backdrop of these attacks, he should have come forward and issued a statement installing confidence and security amongst the peace loving Christian community in the country.

The church is a minority community in the country but the contribution and impact it made on the country’s development has been immense and unparalleled particularly in the fields of education and health. The Church in South India urges the Central government to create a sense of security, safety and a new hope for the minority communities not just the Christian minority community but all the minority communities at large.

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Call to uphold and safeguard the religious freedom and fundamental rights of all Indian citizens: Press note from KJPSS

Please see here the press note from Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod Sepngi (KJPSS), a constituent of the Presbyterian Church of India, urging the governments to uphold and safeguard the religious freedom and fundamental rights of all Indian citizens.

PRESS STATEMENT

By The

Khasi Jaiñtia Presbyterian Synod Sepngi

Shillong, Meghalaya.

The  Executive  Committee  of  the  Khasi  Jaiñtia  Presbyterian  Synod  Sepngi, one of the constituents of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of India with its headquarter in Shillong, Meghalaya, having a membership of more than 340000,  which  met  in  Shillong,  Meghalaya  on  Thursday,  05th  February,  2015  is seized of the  recent  developments  concerning  forced  conversion,  re-conversion  and  proposed  ban  on  conversion.  In the light of such developments and after a thorough discussion, it was decided to issue a Press Statement as follows:

That  the Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod Sepngi expresses  its  appreciation  to  the  HRD  Ministry  for  withdrawing  its advisory  to  States  and  directives  to  the  Navo  Vidyalayas  on  opening  schools  on  25th December, 2014  to  observe  “Good  Governance  Day”  as  per  guidelines  given.

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Chhattisgarh Unity Convention presents People’s Manifesto on rebuilding Chhattisgarh

News from Chhattisgarh: Please find here below the People’s Manifesto on rebuilding Chhattisgarh prepared and presented by the Chhattisgarh Unity Convention of Secular – Democratic – Progressive forces.

BELOW IS THE DOCUMENT IN ENGLISH. FOR HINDI CLICK HERE.

Unity Convention of Secular-Democratic-Progressive Forces

“Threats from Fascist & Imperialist Forces in India, Challenges & Strategies” 

January 22 & 23, 2015 (Thursday & Friday): Gondwana Bhawan, Raipur: Chhattisgarh 

People’s Manifesto On Rebuilding Chhattisgarh

We, the participants at the Chhattisgarh Unity Convention of Secular-Democratic- Progressive Forces held on 22nd & 23rd of January, 2015 at the Gondwana Bhawan, Raipur (Chhattisgarh) representing people’s organisations, political parties, social movements, trade unions, social and cultural action groups, NGOs and progressive intellectuals, who believe in the Vision of a Socialist-Secular-Democratic India and, in turn, work for the realization of such a Vision, reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Constitution of India, which avowedly declares in its Preamble:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a
SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC 
and to secure to all its citizens
 JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the [unity and integrity of the Nation]”

We express our deep concern that, for the first time in the electoral history of India, the religious fundamentalist forces (with a declared historical agenda for “Hindu Rashtra”) trying to gain political control over the State, thus, posing grave threats to the very core and content of the Constitution of India.

We had no doubt in our minds that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government with Bhartiya Janata Pary (BJP) in absolute majority would pursue and realize the vision of a Hindu Rashtra, as projected in the ideological documents of the Rashtriya Swamsewak Sangh (RSS), written by their founders. Historical reality has established beyond doubt that the BJP is fully under the control of the Rashtriya Swamsewak Sangh (RSS), (and its many allies and front organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, etc.).

In this regard, the violent history of communal forces in India since Independence, more so the genocide in Gujarat under Sri Narendra Modi as its Chief Minsiter, has been revived under the autocratic control of State machinery by the BJP, as demonstrated in the subsequent events during the last 200 days of NDA Rule in India.

Presently almost all parliamentary democracy institutions and processes are being weakened through autocratic legal action, such as leading to the resignation by the Chairperson and members of the Censor Board, many journalists and media persons being sacked or shifted only because they are suspected of having left-orientation, and communalisation of education, leading to changing the vice-chancellors and heads of institutions, imposing strictures and violent attack on screening of films, etc.

We are also well aware of the hidden agenda behind the slogan of development of a New India, and “good times ahead” under the leadership of Sri Narendra Modi. It is crystal clear that the BJP-led NDA Government is pursuing the goals of globalization serving the interests of the Corporate World (domestic and multinational), by putting the vast natural and human resources of our country into their hands for profit-making. Policies of privatization and liberalization are being pursued at the cost of the vast majority of marginalized masses are who are systematically and ruthlessly pushed to the periphery. The autocratic leadership has scant regard for the human rights and democratic values enshrined in the Indian Constitution!

  • Reversal of Labour Reforms earned by historical labour movements;
  • Land Acquisition Ordinance, Coal Ordinance, Insurance Ordinance and Ordinance Raj
  • The fresh data and debate on “poverty line”;
  • The unilateral decision increasing the height of Narmada Dam;
  • Targeting of select NGOs/Social Movements in the IB Report, branding them as anti-development, meaning, anti-national;
  • The red-carpet treatment of the newly formed Government by the globalized/imperialist countries, Adani’s Australian coal mine contract ( with State Bank of India providing Rs. 60,000 crores of ; nuclear liability negotiations with Obama;
  • Home Ministry’s aggressive militaristic attitude to conflict in Central India.

These are only a few indicators pointing towards the contours of the ‘Corporate- Communal-Security-State’ taking shape under the present autocratic regime. No doubt, the State Machinery is nakedly and un-ashamedly at the service of the rich and powerful, and ruthlessly and openly against the poor and marginalized.

While the national scenario is clearly moving towards the road-map of ‘Corporate- Communal-Security-State’, in Chhattisgarh, the plunder and loot by the Corporate World, and the sidelining of democratic processes have been already underway during the past tenure of the present regime. Now with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the State Government is acting more bold and bloody in adopting authoritarian-rule-of-law to suppress all dissenting voices and democratic movements resisting globalization, combating communalism and defending democracy.

  • The reincarnation of Salwa-Judum in its new avatar like the recent resolutions by about 50 Gram Sabhas to ban the non-Hindus from preaching and practicing their  religion in the villages in Bastar, are like the same old wine of fascism in a new bottle.
  • The systematic violent attack on Christians and other minorities, and the campaigns like “Ghar vapasi” are deliberately on the increase to create a rift between the adivasis, dalits, landless and marginal farmers so as to carry on with the Corporate Agenda without any hindrance from people’s united action.
  • The linkage between the Corporate agenda in Bastar (and in all of Chhattisgarh), and Salwa-Judum (and now the banning of non-Hindus) was well exposed not only by the human rights and people’s organizations, but declared as un-constitutional and anti-democratic by the apex court of the country.

Therefore, the designs of the Corporate World in achieving their goals can be clearly seen on the one hand, diluting the pro-people provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and Forest Rights Act, and on the other hand, in diverting the basic purpose of the Gram Sabhas in protecting their natural and cultural resources from plunder and loot for profit, greed and endless pursuit of affluence at the cost of basic human rights of life and livelihood of the vast majority of the people, in this case the adivasis and dalits.

The Chhattisgarh situation is even more sensitive due to conflict between the Maoists and the State in a large area of the State. This has led the State to inject more stringent and draconian repressive laws (like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005) and machinery (heavy deployment of para-military forces in large areas inhabited with adivasis and dalits, affecting their lives, livelihood and culture, etc.) which, in turn, violates the human rights of citizens, especially in the conflict zone. This conflict-context would call for fresh reflection-action-reflection process to be initiated by the progressive parties and individuals in Chhattisgarh.

We are also conscious of the fact that other coalitions like the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) are committed to and also have been pursuing ruthlessly the goals of a Global-Corporate India, even if without the blatant aggression of the fascist forces.

We also express our concern that the primary thrust of the present regime is an aggressive onslaught on left-democratic forces, silencing the voices of dissent and constricting freedom of expression. This enables implementation of the corporate agenda with the rule of an iron hand, sidelining established institutions and discarding procedures laid down in the Constitution of India.

The political backdrop in India, more so in Chhattisgarh, has made it mandatory for the people’s organizations, social movements, progressive intellectuals, trade unions, social action groups and left parties to join forces to re-formulate strategies and agenda for future action for the realization of the VISION OF A SOCIALIST-SECULAR-DEMCORATIC INDIA.

This Convention declares on the basis of conclusions drawn through discussions that:

1. The principles of sovereignty, socialism, democracy, secularism as enshrined in the Constitution of India be widely proclaimed and strengthened;

2. Freedom of Expression to the followers of all religions, and to let them live freely without fear according to their religious beliefs;

3. Land Acquisition Ordinance 2014 be repealed, and the Land Acquisition Act 2013 be restored, with additional provisions in favour of the farmers;

4. Coal Ordinance be repealed, and following the directives given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, auction of coal mines be held as per the real need and not for the benefit of the Corporate Sector; along with it the consent of the gram sabhas be made mandatory; impact on environment and forest be taken into consideration as per the provisions of the law before the allotment of mines;

5. Exploitation of natural resources and mineral wealth in favour of the industrialists be stopped forthwith;

6. Anti-labour amendments/provisions introduced in the Labour Laws benefitting the industrialists and employers be withdrawn forthwith, regularization of workers be made mandatory in public and private sector, and contract system be totally abolished;

7. Privatization of water, forest and land, privatisation of public sector, and disinvestment be stopped forthwith;

8. “Made In India” policy be introduced instead of “Make In India”, so as to increase employment opportunities, urban and rural unemployed be provided jobs on priority basis so as to increase their purchasing power;

9. Free quality education be provided from KG to Post Graduate; Health Services Rights Act be legislated, with provisions for free medical treatment for all;

10. Farmers be paid profitable price for their produce. Employment should be guaranteed throughout the year under MNREGA, with provision for, at least, 200 days in a year. Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme be also enacted on similar lines. Workers under MNREGA be paid on a regular basis;

11. MNREGA should not only be linked with agricultural/rural labourers, but also reviewed against the backdrop of agriculture and farming;

12. Those forest dwellers who are denied rights over the occupied land under the Forest Rights Act be provided with legal documents (pattas) forthwith;

13. Implementing the Food Rights Act, the public distribution system be made effective and inclusive;

14. Rising prices be controlled, and corruption be brought to an end;

15. “Religious conversion” and “ghar wapasi” should be brought under the provisions and principles enshrined in the Constitution; laws related to these be reviewed and repealed accordingly, so that religious freedom for all citizens is restored;

16. Legal action be taken against drugs, liquor and decadent culture, and social reforms movements be strengthened against such social ills;

17. Violence and atrocities against women, especially trafficking related crimes be strictly dealt with by the law enforcing machinery, and social struggles should continue against these;

18. The Governor should take appropriate legal action under the provisions of “PESA” and 5th & 6th Schedule, so that exploitation and repression in scheduled areas is stopped;

19. Repression and anti-constitutional laws must be repealed forthwith, such as AFPSA, Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008, and colonial legal provisions like Sedition, etc. ;

20. In the name of combating Maoists, the deployment of para-military forces, and advocacy of direct military action by the NDA government should be opposed, and in order to establish peace in Chhattisgarh, issues such as social justice, people’s rights must be taken into consideration, so as to preserve and promote citizens constitutional rights to life and livelihood.

PLEDGE

We are committed to internalize and implement this Manifesto and programmes into and through our organisations, and pledge ourselves to stand united and in solidarity through dialogue and struggles.

We the participants at the Chhattisgarh Unity Convention adopt it on 23.1.2015:

1. Communist Party of India; 2. Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha; 3. Akhil Bhartiy Adivasi Mahasabha; 4. Kheti-Bachao, Jeewan-Bachao Andolan; 5. People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Chhattisgarh; 6. Baiga Mahapanchayat – Chhattisgarh; 7. Chhattisgarh Mahila Jagriti Sangathan; 8. Pardhi Mahapanchayat – Chhattisgarh; 9. Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan; 10. Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha ( Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti); 11. Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh; 12. Chhattisgarh Labour Institute; 13. Nadi Ghaati Morcha; 14. Chhattisgarh Christian Fellowship; 15. Akhil Bhartiy Krantikaari Kisaan Sabha; 16. Ekta Parishad- Kanker; 17.Chhattsigarh Christian Forum; 18. Bhartiy Muslim Mahila Andolan – Chhattisgarh; 19. Chhattisgarh Bal Shramik Sangathan; 20. Sabla Dal (Domestic Workers’ Union); 21. Communist Party of India (Liberation); 22. Muslim Baitulmaal Foundation; 23. All India Secular Forum – Chhattisgarh; 24. Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF); 25. Dalit Mukti Morcha; 26.All India Progressive Forum – Chhattigarh; 27. All India Peace & Solidarity Organisation –Chhattisgarh; 28. National Alliance of Women (NAWO); 29. Jan Sanskritik Manch; 30. All India Law Forum.

Presidium: 1. Chittaranjan Bakshi (94252-02641); 2. Janak Lal Thakur (94241-07557); 3. C L Patel (98266-41016); 4. Nand Kumar Kashyap (94062-13116); 5. Sudha Bhardwaj (99266-03877); 6. Lakhan Singh (77730-60946); 7. Anand Mishra ((98933-54482)):

Treasurers: Ganesh Ram Chaudhry (99932-33527); A P Josy (94255-43304)

Steering Committee: Rajendra K Sail (98268-04519); Sudha Bhardwaj (99266-03877); Alok Shukla (94076-04811;Gautam Bandopadhyay (98261-71304); Sheikh Ansar (99932-33537); Tej Ram Vidrohi (89596-66036)

__________________________
Contact Address:

Shashi Krishi Farm, Village & Post, Tumgaon, Dist. Mahasamund :Pin-code: 493445: Chhattisgarh: India. E-mail: <rajendrasail@gmail.com>

CLICK HERE FOR THE HINDI VERSION OF THIS DOCUMENT

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NUCF Press Statement

National United Christian Forum
( CBCI, NCCI and EFI )
Yusuf Sadan, 1 Ashok Place, New Delhi – 110001
+91 11 23343457/ 23362058    Fax: +91 11 23746575

Catholic Bishops Conference of India National Council Of Churches in India Evangelical Fellowship of India
His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar Rev. Hali Likha
President, CBCI, President NUCF, President NCCI, Co-President NUCF Chairman EFI, Co-President NUCF
Father Joseph Chinnayyan Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Deputy Secretary General CBCI,
Co Secretary NUCF
General Secretary NCCI,
Co Secretary NUCF
General Secretary EFI,
Secretary NUCF

PRESS STATEMENT

National United Christian Forum Raises serious concerns

New Delhi: 20/12/2014We, the members of the National United Christian Forum (NUCF) comprising the three leading Churches of India, i.e. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), together express our serious concern about the current situation of the minorities, particularly the Christians in India.

The recent happenings in Bastar forcing the school to put the statue of Sarsawati Maa in a Catholic school and forbidding the children to address the principle with the honorific ‘Father’; the burning of a church in Delhi; the declaration of ‘Good Governance Day’ on 25th December to undermine the importance of Christmas; the provocative call by some fundamentalists to convert 4000 Christians to Hinduism in Agra on Christmas Day and the regular targeting of the Christian community, calling them even anti-national is a cause of great concern for us.
The Christian Community being a small minority of just 2.33 percent of the Indian population doing its day to day work in a peaceful manner and setting a good example of how dutiful citizens must abide by law, is highly distressed with the types of announcements and statements made by certain groups belonging to a right wing ideology.
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Press release: Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims

Press meeting at CBCITimes of India on 10th October 2014 reported that the Government is opposed to Dalit status for converts.

It reported Union social justice minister Hon.  Thavar Chand Gehlot’s statement about SC status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, which reveals that the Government is not inclusive in its development policy.

The demand for the inclusion of the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims has been going on for the past 64 years because of the Constitution (Scheduled Caste Order) 1950 paragraph 3 which reads as “no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu religion shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste”. Later it was amended to include Sikhs and Buddhists in 1956 and 1990 respectively.

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