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Appeal to observe AUGUST 10th as “Black Day”

June 08, 2017

Greetings from NCCI- Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns!

National Council of Churches in India-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns appeals to the Churches and Christian organisations to proactively participate in observing ‘Black Day’ on 10th August 2017 to raise our protest regarding the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country.

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MAY DAY CELEBRATION WITH THE MIGRANTS

Migrants form the largest part of India’s vast unorganised work sector. Their entry into the labour markets is marked with several endemic disadvantages. Devoid of critical skills, information and bargaining power, migrant workers often get caught in exploitative labour arrangements that force them to work in low-end, low-value, hazardous work. Lack of identity and legal protection accentuates this problem. The hardships of migrant workers are especially magnified when state boundaries are crossed and the distance between the “source” and “destination” increases. In India, thousands of people including men, women and children mostly Dalits and Adivasis, are forced to migrate from their homes to other places because of poverty, unemployment, limited economic activities, landlessness, global warming, environmental calamities, failure in agriculture due to uncertain monsoon and floods, deforestation, political persecution, poor medical care facilities in their native place, forced displacement due to so-called developmental work, and so on. Keeping these things in mind NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns in partnership with Vidarbha Centre for Labour Concerns and Bahujan Rangbhoomi (street theatre group) celebrated May Day with more than 200 various labour migrants as well as locals from the Butibori and Hingna (Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation) MIDC area at Samvidhan Chowk (Constitution Square), Near Kasturchand Park, Nagpur on 1st May from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. This celebration was done through sharing of Experiences, Street Theatre performances, singing songs of Liberation and Expressions of social-workers.

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Manipur Situation: Appeal letters to Prime Minister and National Commission for Minorities, India.


 

Manipur situation appeal from NCCI_Page_1

Manipur situation appeal from NCCI_Page_2

Manipur situation appeal from NCCI_Page_3


TEXT OF APPEAL LETTERS TO

  • SHRI NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA; and
  • SHRI NASEEM AHMAD, CHAIRPERSON, NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MINORITIES, INDIA.

 

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Dalit Liberation Sunday observed across India

In today’s context where our Dalit brothers and sisters undergo experiences of  dehumanization and denial of basic human rights, violence and  death, the birth of Jesus gives a wake up call to the oppressing communities, to liberate their minds from the ideologies of discrimination, domination, exploitation and oppression.  The member churches of the National Council of Churches in India and Theological Colleges in India observed Dalit Liberation Sunday all across the country on Sunday, the 13th of November 2016 and also on following Sundays. The theme for the Dalit Liberation Sunday (DLS) was ‘Administer Justice Daily! Deliver the Oppressed!’(Jeremiah 21:12).

Observance of DLS-2016 in All Saints Cathedral Church, Nagpur

All Saints Cathedral Nagpur celebrated ‘Thanks Giving Sunday’ on 13th November 2016 and gave an opportunity to Ms. Ngalaton Ningsen- Intern of Commission on Tribals/Adivasis to lead the intercessory prayers giving full freedom to incorporate prayers from the DLS worship order prepared by NCCI.

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Dalit Liberation Sunday-2016 observed jointly by the UELCI and the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai

Dalipresentation1t Liberation Sunday-2016 was observed jointly by the UELCI and the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College and Research Institute, Chennai on 13th November 2016 under the guidance of Rev. Dr. A. G. Augustine Jeyakumar- Executive Secretary of UELCI & LWF National Committee (I) and the Treasurer of the NCCI. Dalits are the opressed and marginalized people in India whom the churches should acknowledge and express solidarity with in their liberation process. The observance of Dalit liberation Sunday paves the way for churches to be more sensitive to the plights and concerns of Dalits.

On the eve of 13th November, the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College premise was customized to the frame of Dalit worship with the fire post and the Parai (the Dalit Drum) at the centre. The worship order was created incorporating Dalit lives and their thirst  for liberation. Before commencing  the worship, Mr. K. Immanuel Paul Vivekanandh, the Coordinator of Dalits and Adivasi Concerns Desk of UELCI welcomed the gathering and gave an introduction for the need of the Dalit Liberation Sunday and observing it in the present day context. The worship was on the  theme “Administer Justice Daily, Deliver the Oppressed”. The Students walked in procession with the Parai singing  Dalit songs. The Parai drum was beaten to invoke the presence of the God, as  is customary in the worship of the Dalit communities. The worship was led by Mr. K. Immanuel Paul Vivekanandh, and the worship elements were led by the Guru-Sishya fellowship of the Gurukul Lutheran Theological College, and Dr.Walo Temjen Professor of Dept. of History of Christianity.

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DIGITAL REPORTING TOOL FOR DALIT EMPOWERMENT Launched.

dalitvoicebadge

Mainstream media is often found to under-represent the interests of people in the margins of society such as the dalits in India who are outcaste. In this context, the lack of channels and inability to communicate their own concerns and bring to the fore their experiences of discrimination, has led to ignorance, unaddressed issues of inequality, inaccessibility to basic services, neglect, denial of rights and exclusion from the processes of decision-making and policy-making. The emerging consciousness about importance of Information and Communications Technology in the exploration of alternative media to create communication spaces can lead to the creation of pathways to digital frontiers that provide solutions towards affirmation of communication rights and implementation of inclusion concepts.

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NCCI DALIT LIBERATION SUNDAY 2016

dls2016-picRespected Ecumenical Colleagues,

Warm greetings from National Council of Churches in India!
Dalit Liberation Sunday has become an important feature in the calendar of Indian Churches and Ecumenical movements. Over the years, there has been a positive response in sensitizing the local congregations towards concerns of Dalits, for no longer caste issue is visualized as a sociological issue or an issue outside the purview of church but more seen as an issue challenging the core of our faith and gospel.
The theme for this year’s Dalit Liberation Sunday is “Administer Justice Daily! Deliver the Oppressed!” (Jeremiah 21:12). We take this opportunity to invite you to observe Dalit Liberation Sunday on 13th November 2016 in your church/local parish/institution in a creative way and rededicate your commitment to the Gospel by accompanying the unaccompanied. However, if you already have some programme on 13th November 2016, you may think of celebrating this Special day on a later Sunday i.e. on 20th November 2016. Herewith we are sending you hard copies of posters and a special order of worship for the day. You may take the freedom to use the entire worship order and translate it in your vernacular language or adapt parts of it.
We would appreciate if you send a brief report along with a few photographs of the observance to the undersigned. Let us join to observe Dalit Liberation Sunday on 13th November 2016.
Thanking you in anticipation. With regards,

In Christ,

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Commission on Dalits and Tribals/ Adivasis
National Council of Churches in India

Celebration of Tribal and Adivasi Sunday at MBC Bible College, Hyderabad.

adivasiTribal and Adivasi Sunday was celebrated at MBC Bible College, Hyderabad on 7th of August 2016. It was an enlightening evening, the whole community gathered at the academic centre to participate and celebrate through this worship.

 It was a enriching experience to the whole community to know about various tribal and adivasi groups in India. A power point presentation was made to educate the community about the rich culture and tradition of various tribes in India.  MBC community remembered the life and living style of the tribal and adivasi people amidst of the discrimination and subjugation they face. An attempt was made not to romanticize the plight of the tribals but to understand the resistive modes they employed for their survival in midst of struggle.

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Observance of Black Day on August 10th, 2016

August 10th is observed every year as ‘Black Day’ by the member Churches of National Council of Churches in India, Theological institutions and Christian organisations across India demanding the deletion of the infamous Presidential Order 1950, Paragraph 3, which excludes Christian and Muslim Dalits from the Scheduled Caste list.

The foundation of state discrimination against Christian Dalits was laid in the 1930s when the then British India Government passed the “Scheduled Caste (SC) Act 1936”. This Act made only ‘Hindu’ Dalits eligible for protective discrimination (SC reservation) and deprived Dalits of other religious faiths, including Christian Dalits from it. In post independent India, the “Presidential Order (SC) 1950” was very similar to the Act of 1936, denying again protective discrimination for Dalit converts to Christianity. This clearly violates the principle of equality and religious freedom guaranteed in the Indian Constitution – Articles 14, 15 and 25. The argument of the Government very often has been that since Christianity is an egalitarian religion where caste has no place, the question of granting protective discrimination to Christian Dalits does not arise! This argument is not just simplistic but ill-motivated. It is a universally known truth, a fact even amply proved by several Central and State Government-appointed Commissions that the phenomenon of caste is so pervasive and wide spread that it has made deep inroads in all religious communities in the country, without exception. Subsequent to the Presidential Order of 1950, the Government of India brought in amendments and granted protective discrimination (SC reservation) to Sikh Dalits and Neo Buddhists, but the plea of Christian and Muslim Dalits has remained a cry in the wilderness until now. The Government of India appointed a National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities to investigate the demand of Christian and Muslim Dalits on 29 October, 2004. Ranganath Mishra, Head of Commission submitted the Commission Statement on 21 May, 2007. According to the Commission Report, paragraph 3 of the Constitution’s Order 1950 should be deleted from the Constitution in order to bring Equality and Justice for Christian and Muslim Dalits. However the Central Government kept silent when 12 state governments along with Union Territories and several political parties had endorsed the proposal to delete Paragraph 3 from the Constitution of India.

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Tribal and Adivasi Sunday-2016 Celebrated Across India

The lives of Tribals and Adivasis in India are always an intertwining of struggles and celebrations. Over the years Tribal and Adivasi Sunday has been observed in many parts of our country to sensitize the Indian churches to break down barriers that separate indigenous people from other communities and to express solidarity with the struggles of our Tribal and Adivasi brothers and sisters. The member churches of the National Council of Churches in India and Theological Colleges in India celebrated Tribal and Adivasi Sunday all across the country on Sunday, the 7th of August 2016 and also on following Sundays. The theme for the celebration was, “Towards Just and inclusive Communities: Visions and Voices of Tribals and Adivasis”.

Celebration in All Saints Cathedral, St. Thomas Church and AHM 1840 Church, CNI, Nagpur:

1-1Rev. Dr. Hmingthansanga, General Secretary of All India Sunday School Association preached at All Saints Cathedral CNI Church on Luke 10. In his sermon he emphatically asked  “Who is my neighbour?’’ and highlighted the problems faced by Tribal, Adivasis and Dalits in today’s context.
Categorizing Tribals and Adivasis as inferior or backward, marginalising and discriminating on any ground is a sin before the creator God as God has created all human beings in God’s own image, said Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary-Commission on Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis during the Tribal and Adivasi Sunday worship at St. Thomas CNI Church, Nagpur on 7th August 2016.
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Events

Appeal to observe August 10th as “Black Day”

 “Appeal to observe AUGUST 10th as Black Day”

 

Greetings from NCCI- Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns!

National Council of Churches in India-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns appeals to the Churches and Christian organisations to proactively participate in observing ‘Black Day’ on 10th August 2017 to raise our protest regarding the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country.

The infamous Presidential (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which says “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the scheduled caste” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. But this law, as we are all aware of, keeps the Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Castes list. We request you to kindly observe ‘Black Day’ by organising protest meetings/ rallies/ demonstrations/ hunger fasts/ submitting memoranda/ candle vigils/ special prayers and other appropriate programmes in your church/institution to express our solidarity with the suffering Christians and Muslims of Scheduled caste origin.

The Churches and Christian organisations of NCCI are also requested to wear black badges on 10th August 2017 and display the posters, which are sent along with this letter/mail on your notice boards. We would appreciate if you send couple of photos and a brief report of the observance to the undersigned.

Thanking you in anticipation,

With regards,

In Christ,

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India
Phone: +91 (712) 2561464, Cell No: +91- 9960727540
Email: pradip@ncci1914.com; Website: http://ncci1914.com

Tribal and Adivasi Sunday

Respected Ecumenical Leaders,

Warm greetings from NCCI- Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns!

Celebration of Tribal and Adivasi Sunday has become an important feature in the calendar of Indian Churches and Ecumenical movements. Over the years Tribal and Adivasi Sunday has been celebrated in many parts of our country in sensitizing the local congregation on Tribal and Adivasi Concerns. Thanks to the enormous support we have received from across the churches, dioceses, parishes and institutions in celebrating this special Sunday.

The theme for this year’s Tribal and Adivasi Sunday is “Solidarity in Christ: Bearing One Another’s Burdens” (cf. Galatians 6:2). We take this opportunity to invite you to celebrate Tribal and Adivasi Sunday on 6th August 2017 in your church/local parish/institution in a creative way. However, if you already have some programme on 6th August 2017, you may think of celebrating this Special day on later Sundays. Herewith we are sending you hard copies of posters and a special order of worship for the day. You may take the freedom to use the entire worship order and translate it in your vernacular language or adapt parts of it.

We would appreciate if you send a brief report along with a few photographs of the celebration to the undersigned. Let us join to celebrate Tribal and Adivasi Sunday on 6th August 2017.

Thanking you in anticipation.

With regards,

In Christ,

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India

Download order of worship.pdf

Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices”

 National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
in partnership with
EMW Germany, Christian Service Agency and Diocese of Durgapur-CNI
Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustice”
Date:  4th – 6th July 2017,
Venue: Diocesan Bhavan, Aldrin Path, Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur (W/B)

 

Concept Note

Today, the condition of Christian Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis is very precarious. It is important to remind ourselves that most of these people embraced the Christian faith at a critical time while facing serious caste atrocities and oppression in their places. Their motives for converting to Christianity were spiritually social, and they joined the church seeking solace and liberation. The Church received them with enthusiasm and initially did quite well both in terms of Christian nurture and caring for their overall progress. However, today these communities are experiencing a deep religious crisis. One of the most crucial areas is related to the problem of ineffective pastoral care, particularly when it comes to standing for socio- economic and political justice. As a people coming from a background of acute suppression, understandably these Christian communities generally tend to see the Church as their refuge, and their pastor as a leader and protector of their socio-spiritual life. Therefore, the somewhat non-existent pastoral visitation and care in their places/villages has created deep disappointment among them, so much so that they feel that the church/pastor is not interested in them and their life.

Further, what is most unfortunate is that the Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis are a marginalized community within some of the church traditions, existing as a non-entity, with practically no say in the decision making process in the church. Thus they are not only denied upward mobility in the society at large but also ironically, within the church.

Because of their poor self-image, which is the result of centuries of oppression, Dalits and Tribals/Adivasis do not appreciate themselves enough and do not accept their identity as something to be proud of. They have, to a good extent, forgotten their history, culture and religion, and their awareness of being the original inhabitants of the country is not much alive. And today they face the twofold onslaught of globalization and communalism. Tribal culture is further eroded by the loss of their communitarian values and sense of nature, along with that of their lands and forests, which were both their livelihood resources and their ‘mother’, the matrix of their culture and identity. The Dalit culture was also a “culture of solidarity, togetherness, sharing and participation”. Their “national integration” is often wrongly understood and interpreted as assimilation into the majority community.

The development of a positive identity, self-image and culture, which is indissolubly linked with the regaining of their economic and political rights, is therefore essential for Dalit and Tribal empowerment. Under these circumstances, the Church should wake up from its complacency and do some honest soul-searching and be faithful to its calling. To play a relevant role in the Christian Dalits/Tribals/Adivasis struggle for liberation, the church in particular, and the urban Christians in general, should undergo a sincere change of heart. There is no doubt that the apathetic or indifferent attitude of these people is one of the serious obstacles in the task of empowering them. Our theology has to be updated and the understanding of the Gospel must be made more relevant. Though this is very important and necessary, it is not enough to change some socio-economic and political structures and foster a greater representation of Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis. Mentalities must be transformed. The Church has a great responsibility to defend the rights of these communities and promote their culture and identity, both within and outside the Church. She must also foster their internal unity and prevent a separation between Christians and other Dalits/Tribals.  As a Church we need to help to explore the meaning of true spirituality, to participate actively in the struggles of oppressed people and practice their faith in praxis.

 Christian concern for Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi liberation must be transformed into the mission of the Church. It would thus be one authentic expression of the Nazareth Manifesto of Jesus Christ.  This commitment to dalit and tribal/adivasi liberation is neither an extracurricular activity for a pleasant digression, nor is it a mere social service undertaken out of charity as other leaders may do. Since theology is not merely some ivory tower reflection but our commitment to the liberation of people, church leaders, pastors and all of us are called to express solidarity (a kind of incarnation) with struggling communities, and in so doing to reflect upon, interpret and articulate the gospel of salvation-liberation and fullness of life, thereby empowering the people in their struggles for justice, dignity and participatory space and holistic growth in society.

Hence it is urgent that a consultation is called on the prophetic role of Church Leaders in the midst of injustice suffered by vulnerable marginalized dalits and tribals/adivasis.

 

Objectives:

 Consultation Objectives:

  • To re-read the Bible from Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi perspectives.
  • To bring contextual awareness of Dalit and Tribal issues, and the imperative importance of Liberation, Equality, Justice and their Rights
  • To motivate the church/congregation to participate actively in the struggles of oppressed and marginalized people
  • To struggle for the participation of Dalits and Tribals in the decision making process of the Church and Society
  • To promote education for building Tribal/Adivasi and Dalit leaderships and developing their communication and managerial skills
  • To understand the problems of unemployment & education system among the indigenous people & Dalits.

Consultation Follow-up Objectives

  • To strengthen fellowship in the Church and to promote Unity
  • To sensitize local congregations to address the issue of atrocities inflicted upon Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis and the issues related to justice and peace.
  • To facilitate peace talks and agreements among conflicting communities in their respective regions.
  • To encourage churches to be prophetic in their advocacy for peace building
  • To strengthen the churches’ commitment for building peace by networking with other movements.

 

Pradip Bansrior
Executive Secretary
Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India