The National Council of Churches in India is glad to learn the naming of two-kilometre stretch of road after the late Bishop Metropolitan Dr. Stephanos Mar Theodosius. It is a great recognition to the dedication of Bishop Theodosius’ efforts in promoting education and health care for local people. It is certainly a matter of pride. We appreciate the gesture of the Municipal Corporation of Bhilai, said the General Secretary of NCCI, particularly at the times of anti-Christian sentiments.
Black Day Protest in Delhi on 10th August, 2015
For Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims
Jointly Organised by
CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERRENCE OF INDIA (CBCI), NATIONAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES IN INDIA (NCCI) and NATIONAL COUNCIL OF DALIT CHRISTIANS (NCDC)
The Constitution (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which says that “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. This order is against the secular nature (Preamble of the Constitution) of the country, against Article 14(Equality before the law), article 15(Prohibition of discrimination of any citizen on ground of only religion), Article 25 (Freedom of Conscience and free to profess any religion), Article 26 (Equality before the law and equal protection of the law) and against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which India is a party.
Regarding the communal situation in the country and the fear among Religious Minorities in wake of Hashimpura Judgment, some MPs organiized a signature campaign followed by a protest. Many MPs participated in the protest at Gandhi Statue in the Parliament premises on 7th May, at 10 am. The successive state Government’s negligence and failure in producing evidence before the court of law denied justice to the victims. Whereas promulgation of executive order in 1950, 10th August by President without the approval of Parliament amounted to denial of equal opportunity and choice of Religious Freedom not only to Dalits of the country but also to the Religious Minorities. This was to voice their concern to ensure the citizenry in upholding Constitutional mandate of Social Justice beyond Religion.
The Demands were:
- A thorough investigation under the supervision of sitting Supreme Court judge to ensure confidence among Citizenry on the governance and the justice delivery system beyond delivering Justice to the victims. The Union Government and the State Government should take every possible effort in bringing the culprits to the book.
- We demand the Union of India to Extend the Scheduled Caste Status to Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin.
Secretary, CBCI Office for SC/BC
Mr. Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary, CoP, NCCI
- We endorse that all humans are created in the Image of God and Churches and all their agencies are called to be responsible to work with specific mandate for the betterment of humanity as well as God’s creations.
- We express concern over growing inequality created by humans on the basis of caste, creed, colour, food, language, gender and religion and recent controversies based on faith, practices and habits of individuals and communities. We also express concern over the continuous attacks against minorities particularly on churches and the Christians.
- We believe that cultural homogeneity is impossibility in a pluralistic society like ours, and therefore, we affirm to work with all for the betterment of human situation where every individual can live with dignity and honour.
- We rededicate ourselves to work for the transition from exclusive to inclusive society. We affirm dignity of life and denounce all forces that work to create division in human society and exploit human and natural resources for selfish purposes.
- We express solidarity with the farmers, landless, tribals, dalits, maha-dalits, adivasis and women and children and condemn all types of violent activities against the weaker sections of the society.
- We are proud of our Democracy, Constitution and Independent Judiciary and urge every citizen, Government, Political Party and Civil Society to uphold them so that the secular character of our nation is sustained.
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
Christian communities are now more frequently targeted for violence. In Delhi, in less than two months five Church buildings have been vandalized or burnt down. The police have not solved most of the cases and it has created a sense of fear among the Christian Community in India.
The Christian community had peaceful protest in front of Sacred Heart Cathedral on 5th February, 2015 against Government inaction on Church attacks. However, Protesters were dealt very roughly by the Delhi police. Many of the priests, lay men and women, were dragged into police van and detained at the Parliament street police station. Around 500 protesters were taken to the Police station. The police was not even allowing them to protest inside the Church and not allowing protesters to meet the media.
Times 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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