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Observance of “Black Day” on August 10, 2017

National Council of Churches in India -Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns along with many member churches, theological institutions and various organisations proactively participated in the observance of ‘Black Day’ on 10th August 2017. The infamous Presidential  Order that was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India stated, “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 fold. It is ironical that the Government is turning deaf ears even when twelve state Governments along with union territories and political parties have endorsed the proposal to delete  paragraph-3 of the Presidential Order 1950 in order to ensure equality and justice for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in India.

Therefore on 10th August 2017, people protested against the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country. At different places protest rallies, meetings, demonstrations, candle vigils, special prayers, submission of  memorandums and other appropriate programmes were organised to express solidarity with the oppressed Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin.

Observance of  Black Day at Bishop’s College, Kolkata

“Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians are citizens of India! ” was one of the slogans heard on  A.J.C. Bose Road in front of Bishop’s College, Kolkata. Black Day was observed by the theological students and faculty of  Bishop’s College, Kolkata, in keeping with its tradition and conviction of being a voice for the voiceless. Rev. Dr. Sunil Caleb (Principal of the college) briefed  the community about the significance of the observance of  Black Day. He categorically emphasized the church’s participation in the struggles of the Dalits. He provided a historical overview of the infamous Presidential Order of 1950 that excludes Christian and Muslim Dalits from the Scheduled Castes list.

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Celebration of Tribal and Adivasi Sunday 2017

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  local congregations on Tribal and Adivasi Concerns. Thanks to the churches, dioceses, parishes and institutions for their encouraging partnership in celebrating this special day on the first and the following Sundays of August. The theme for this year’s Tribal and Adivasi Sunday was “Solidarity in Christ: Bearing One Another’s Burdens” (cf. Galatians 6:2). Few reports and pictures received from member churches and institutions are presented here.

Celebration at All Saints Cathedral CNI, Nagpur

On the 6th August 2017, the All Saints Cathedral celebrated the Tribal and Adivasi Sunday. Rev. John George the Priest in charge led the service as per the order of worship provided by NCCI. The message was brought by Mr. Mathingmi Hongchui, Intern of Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi (DATA) Concerns, NCCI. The speaker  drew attention to the problems faced by Tribal and Adivasi communities since antiquity. Prayer alone is not enough in today’s context; it is imperative  to speak up for the voiceless and ensure justice for those who are poor and needy, which is the need of the hour. The message was concluded with a quote of John Stott, “To be a burden-bearer is a great ministry. It is something that every Christian should and can do. It is a natural consequence of walking by the Spirit. It fulfills the law of Christ.”

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Memorandum submitted to the Governor of Jharkhand to repeal the proposed religious freedom bill and the amendments to the land acquisition bill.

 

 

 

Bishop Johan Dang (Moderator, GEL Church), Bishop Dular Lakra (NWGEL Church), Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad (General Secretary, NCCI), Mr. Pradip Bansrior (Executive Secretary, Dalit & Tribal / Adivasi Concerns, NCCI), Mr. Joy Tudu (Secretary, Santalia Council of Churches), Rev. Arun Barwa (Secretary, Jharkhand Council of Churches), and Rev. Ashisan Bage (Women Representative).

These leaders submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Jharkhand to repeal the proposed religious freedom bill and the amendments to the land acquisition bill.

 

Text of the memorandum:

To

Her Excellency,

Shrimati Draupadi Murmu

Governor of Jharkhand

Raj Bhawan, Ranchi – 834001

Jharkhand

Subject: An appeal to Repeal the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill2017 and Jharkhand Right to Fair Compensationand Transparency in land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Ammendment) Bill 2017by the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha on 12th August 2017.

Honorable Governor Shrimati Draupadi Murmu,

We, as citizens of India and on behalf of National Council of Churches in India, Jharkhand Council of Churches and Santalia Council of Churches bring our greetings of respect, love and joy to you. The Jharkhand assembly on 12th August 2017 passed the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Bill2017 and Jharkhand Right to Fair Compensationand Transparency in land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Ammendment) Bill 2017 brought by the BJP-led government. During the debate on Religious Freedom Bill 2017in theassembly, a figure was presented by the BJP led government, which states that in 2011 there were 10,90,283 Christians in Jharkhand which rose to 14,18,783 in 2017 which means in the last five years an increase of 30 percent in the population of Christian religion. According to Indian government census report it was 4.1 percent of the population who accepted Christianity in 1951 in Jharkhand, which rose 4.3 percent in 2011, i.e. an increase of just 0.2 percent of the population of Christians in 70 years. Your Excellencyan increase of30 percents in just five years is just impossible; it is only a politically motivated inflated figure.In India, as per the government census the Christian population in the country was 2.33 per cent in 1951; 2.44 in 1961; 2.60 in 1971; 2.44 in 1981; 2.32 in 1991; 2.34 in 2001 and 2.30 in 2011. The growth rate is almost static. Jharkhand has the same kind of scenario too. Though the State was formed in 2000, yet for a larger picture the Christian population was 4.12 in 1951; 4.17 in 1961; 4.35 in 1971; 3.99 in 1981; 3.72 in 1991; 4.10 in 2001 and 4.30 in 2011. Here too the growth rate is stagnant. The census occurs once in every ten years. How could the Jharkhand government introduce its figure on Christian population percentage to the assembly? The BJP led government has misled the assembly by introducing fake figures. Is this not a travesty of democracy?

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Observance of “Black Day” at NCCI Campus, Nagpur

The National Council of Churches in India with the initiative of the Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns observed  ‘Black Day’ on  10th August 2017, protesting against the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country. On this day in solidarity with the people who are oppressed, 27 members gathered together on the lawn of NCCI wearing black badges and displaying posters. A black flag was hoisted by Rev. Caesar J. David – Executive Secretary of Communications. It was not only an emblem of mourning for the injustice inflicted upon Dalit Christians and Muslims, but also an urgent appeal to the authority to repeal the unconstitutional law that violates and suppresses the rights of many citizens.

Mr. Pradip Bansrior – Executive Secretary of the Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns shared a reflection on the significance of the protest against the infamous Presidential Order that was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which said, “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 continues to rule out  Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Castes List until date. Mr Pradip Bansrior also suggested how concerned people should  respond in times like this: to be critical about not only the powers that be, but also about the way one lives, being a responsible citizen and a steward of God. The observance concluded with a prayer by Ms. Ushakiran Herold, remembering the plight and affliction of the people who are oppressed, and  beseeching God to intervene and to bring justice for the oppressed.

Mathingmi Hongchui
Intern – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India

Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices” held from 4-6 July 2017 at Durgapur.

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 Injustices”
Date:  4th  – 6th  July 2017
Venue: Diocesan Bhavan, Aldrin Path, Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur (W/B)

The Church has been in solidarity with the oppressed and the marginalized, but the time has come when solidarity in spirit alone is insufficient to resurrect failing courage, and hopelessness, in the wake of injustice and atrocities perpetrated on vulnerable sections of society, particularly on Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis, setting their life and livelihood at risk, affecting them physically, mentally and spiritually, and destroying the collective will of survival. The time has come to recognize that the engagement of the Church is the need of the hour, as it stands for values of the Reign of God and ‘just-peace’ for all. The Church has to be sensitive to the struggles of Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis and cannot remain a mute spectator to atrocities inflicted on them in terms of marginalization, loss of identity, dehumanization, trafficking and displacement caused by lop-sided development. It has to redefine the meaning of “Justice” in the context of globalization that seeks to exploit natural resources without considering its impact on the indigenous people, and ensure a life of dignity, peace and security for Dalits. It has to be inclusive, acknowledging Jesus as the dynamic ideal and model for ensuring justice.

In order to make the Church leaders of member churches and regional councils, who are involved in working with Dalits and Tribals/ Adivasis, well acquainted with the new developing forms of oppression and resistance, NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns, in partnership with Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland  (EMW, Germany), Christian Service Agency and Diocese of Durgapur – Church of North India (CNI) organized a three days consultation for Central and Northern region of India on the theme “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices” from 4th – 6th July 2017 at Diocesan Bhavan, Aldrin Path, Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur. A total of 37 Church Leaders from member churches and regional councils of central and northern regions of India participated. The goal of the consultation was to highlight the Prophetic role of Church leadership in the context of oppression. It also endeavored to explore on how, under ever changing discriminative circumstances, the ministers of the church can render service that builds up the oppressed. The consultation started with a creative worship service led by Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary- Dalit and Tribal Concerns-NCCI along with a team, during which a reflection was given by Rev. Vijay Kumar, Vice- President of Diocese of Amritsar and a member of North West Frontier Council of Churches. Following the inaugural worship, Mr. Pradip Bansrior welcomed the delegates and resource persons and shared the purpose of the consultation and also extended his sincere thanks and gratitude to Rt. Rev. Dr. Probal Kanto Dutta, Bishop of Diocese of Durgapur for hosting the consultation in the Diocese of Durgapur, CNI.

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Tribal and Adivasi Sunday 2017

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: NCCI Tribal and Adivasi Sunday 2017 pdf

(http://ncci1914.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/NCCI-Tribal-Adivasi-Sunday-2017-pdf.pdf)

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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