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Dalit Christian Tactics
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Dalit Christians' Accusations against 
Casteist Hierarchical Church Authorities in India

(Note: This article was published by Dr.Mary John, president of DCLM before the arrival of our Holy Father John Paul II to India in November 1999)

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The Papal visit to India, being an important event, is awaited eagerly by all the Christians. This is expected to be an event of historical significance both for the Church in India and for the Indian Society. Moreover, it is also the time when the churches in India and the world churches are eagerly looking forward to celebrate the Jubilee 2000 commemorating the birth of Christ. At this juncture, it becomes essential and imperative to put forth certain thoughts and views to the attention of the Pope John Paul II and for the reflection of the Church, bearing in mind the future welfare of the Catholic Church in India.

The crucial and most urgent matter is the problems faced by the Dalit Christians who form a great majority in the Catholic Church in India. In recent times these people have taken up struggles against the casteism within the Church to attain justice and equality. It is becoming widely into a historical struggle among these people. It is very necessary at this moment that the Church listens intensely to get to know and understand carefully the thoughts, the agony and anger revealed by the Dalit Christians who have been adversely deprived and affected for long and are now determined to struggle. Through their activities & steps of struggle,  they register several accusations against the Indian Church authorities. A deep understanding of this is very vital.

Listed below are the thoughts, sentiments and the charges that constantly emerge in the minds of these people, their leaders and social activists and thinkers who sympathize with their just cause. This is placed for the reflection, and thoughts of the Church authorities, the priests, nuns and religious and for their serious concern and sincere action, which is inevitable now. This alone will bring meaning and dignity to the visit of the Pope John Paul II and for the celebration of Jubilee 2000 of the birth of Christ. These points are placed before the people concerned, keeping in view the future growth of the Indian Church and the welfare of the oppressed, marginalised and afflicted people in India:

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By failing to take steps to attain the constitutional protection and safeguards to the dalit Christians from the centuries old social atrocity of "untouchability", the Indian Church has proved herself to be a Caste-based Church who began to neglect the welfare of Dalit Christians even 50 years ago.

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Even though there are ample reasons to show that Dalit Christians are eligible and deserve the constitutional reservations in education, employment and administrations, the Indian caste-based Church has failed in her duty to use her authority, her institutional, administrative and organizational powers and influence and take steps to reach an accord for it at that time. Thereby she has caused irreparable loss to the social progress and development of Dalit Christians.

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The Minority Rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution has been misused by the Church to safeguard only the interest of the upper Caste -Christians, but at the  same time to enslave Dalit Christians and hinder their progress, thereby her administration becoming a structure and instrument of promoting caste oppression and discrimination.

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The Indian Catholic Church authorities have refused to lead the administration in the very "noble path of love" preached by Jesus Christ ; but instead have adopted only the mean manners of caste- -rnindedness, hatred and inequalities which were created by the Hindu religion.

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Since the powers, authority, official posts, organizations and financial resources are all in the absolute hold of the caste-priests, nuns, bishops and the religious, the Dalit Christians are not able to get an equal share for them in education, employment opportunities, welfare  and development schemes available in the Church. This has hindered the progress of Dalit Christians for long and has forced them to the situation of fighting for their rights. But the Church authorities are least worried about this.

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The authorities use the various means of the Church viz. the prayer services, liturgy, sacraments, sermons as well as the religious journals, increasingly against the Dalit Christians. This trend is intensified especially now, when Dalit Christians openly fight for their justice, equality and rights within the Church. Instead of sympathizing with them and using these means in support of their just cause, these are used to indulge in false propaganda against them.

bullet.gifThe Church authorities not only refuse to function on the basis of the noble values of equality, peace and brotherhood, etc, but also choke the voice of the Dalit Christians who advocate these ideals and try to foster a Christian life in the Church on the basis of these values. For this they misuse their powers authority, influence, money and also the Government machinery such as the Police Department.
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The cruelty of the caste-Christians towards the Dalit Christians is in no less degree than that meted out by the pseudo -nationalists to the Australian missionary who was set ablaze and killed recently. These caste Christians enjoy the support of the upper caste priests, nuns, administrators, superiors, bishops and the leaders of the institutions. It has been the nature of the Indian Church to keep silence whenever the Dalits are butchered, whenever their women are raped and wherever they are affected. The Church never cares to protest them against these atrocities.

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The constitutional reservation for Dalit Christians in education and employment opportunities is prevented by the pseudo -nationalists in the post 50 years. In the same way the casteist authorities of the Church deny reservations to Dalit Christians in their various institutions. This atrocity of denial continues even up to this day. Most of the well established and premier institutions of the Church which are run using the minority right of the people refuse to give due opportunities and preferences to Dalit Christians in admission and appointments, which amounts to an act of betrayal. In this matter the caste authorities of the Church act against Dalit Christians very much like the pseudo-nationalists.

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The Dalit Christians who are in a big majority in the Church do not get a proportionate share in the powers and authority, in admissions and appointments in the educational institutions. The casteist authorities of our institutions, the priests and nuns holding various positions are not willing to concede this even till today. On the contrary, they give most opportunities to the upper caste Christians who are only a minority and continue to justify the same. This is what we call the caste-culture and caste-tradition of the Indian Church. The Dalit Christians struggle is to condemn vehemently these caste domination, oppression, atrocity and betrayal.

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In spite of their struggle during the past 10 years, there is not much change in these state of affairs in the Church and so the struggles are bound to intensify and spread wider. It is the Church authorities who are to be blamed for this situation.

bullet.gifThe caste domination in the administration of the church has been the obstacle for the growth and advancement of the Church in India and for the values of Christ to get deeply rooted here. In this respect we may be reminded of the historical truth that even during the time of the European missionaries,  the casteism hampered and prevented the growth and progress of the Church in India.
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By their staunch Casteist activities, the ruling class of the Indian Church not only worked against the Dalit Christians but has been also disloyal to God, the teachings of Jesus Christ and to our Holy Father the Pope during the post 50 years. This truth has been however hidden all these years.

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The caste-dominant ruling class of the Indian Church and the institutions under their administration will soon celebrate the Jubilee 2000 on a grand scale. But as far as the Dalit Christians are concerned,  it will be a myth and only a meaningless outward show. The true meaning of Jubilee 2000 of the birth of Christ is a celebration of the joy of liberation and dignified life to those who have been oppressed and marginalised in the society. But, when the legitimate rights and the truths about the oppressed Dalit Christians, who are a part of the Church itself, are being denied and buried, what meaning will the Jubilee celebrations by the same Church carry? Can it be anything more than a mere outward show?

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The Papal Visit to India and the Crucial Expectations of Dalit Christians :

There is a general opinion that the Popes can not be revolutionary. But this is proved false by the living example of our Pope John Paul II. As soon as he recovered from the murderous attack by a youth with knife, the Pope was magnanimous enough to go to the prison to meet that very youth and forgive him. He is the Pope who took the revolutionary step to acknowledge the wrongs and apologize for the grave mistakes committed by the politically autocratic administration of the Church in Europe in the second millennium.

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His services to humanity in upholding peace, brotherhood and human rights, which he does by directly involving and traveling widely even in his very old age, merits to be recorded in golden letters in history. The second visit to India of this revolutionary Pope John Paul II is a matter of joy for the Christians. But it may not be a surprise if it is irritating to the pseudo-nationalists who are against the minorities in India.

bullet.gifThe visit of the Pope brings a great and just expectation to the Dalit Christians who have been denied human dignity, human right and brotherhood in the Indian Church. They have an urgent duty to perform at this moment : to bring to the knowledge and attention of the Pope the injustices, denial of rights and atrocities meted out to them by the caste-dominant Church. 
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The caste-based authorities of the Church always try to prevent such an opportunity to Dalit Christians from representing to the Pope. During his last visit to India, even for expressing such an idea and desire, the Dalit Christians were prevented by them using the Police force. As a consequence of this, the " Dalit Christian Liberation Movement " emerged under which they try to consolidate their force to fight against the injustices done to them and also to take up their just cause with the hierarchical authorities, leaders and organizations of the world Christianity.

bullet.gifSo, the Dalit Christians are eager that the supporters of social justice, the Church authorities standing for Christ's values and the people's leaders help in fulfilling their desire to represent to the Pope at least during this second visit. There has to be full effort to solve all their problems. This will also pave the way to relent or prevent this continued struggle. 
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A just and permanent solution to their problem is possible only if Dalit Christians, Dalit priests and nuns are given equitable share in the powers and positions of the Church and the management of the resources. The Indian Church has failed to bring necessary changes towards this end. So, the Pope's intervention and instructions are necessary and inevitable for all these.

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A big question with our people regarding the Jubilee 2000 is "Whose celebration is it going to be in the Indian Church?" It will be the celebration for only the Caste-dominant ruling class. But of course, they will speak loudly about the liberation of the oppressed and poor people. In this situation it is very important and appropriate that the Pope openly advises them and insists that the Indian Church changes her contradictory stand of working against the interests of the Dalits  by marginalising and excluding them.

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At several stages, most of the Casteist Church authorities were not trusted friends of Dalit Christians. Not only that, they indeed worked as their dishonest enemies. This truth has to be emphatically made known to the world.

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Now the Dalit Christians see no other way than to bring their just demands and struggles to the attention  of the Pope, to change the Caste-culture of the Church and establish a Church with "Renewed life".

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If the casteist authorities of the Indian Church prevent the Dalit Christians and try to hide their genuine problems from the Pope and the world Christianity, the future will expose them as a people much worse than the psuedo -nationalists.

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At least at this juncture of the Pope's visit and the Jubilee 2000, the Indian Church authorities should begin to change their caste -mentality, callous attitude and inimical activities against Dalit Christians and commit to their cause truthfully in the path of Christ. The question that stands out eminently with the Dalit Christians at this moment is: "will they do this?".



-- Edited by Admin on Wednesday 25th of January 2012 07:23:23 AM

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Ranganath Commission not a solution for Dalit Christians!By R L Francis*

Justice Ranganath Misra Commission Report has created a stir among the minorities in general and the Christian community in particular. In this report, Christian community has been described as educationally backward. Commission has vividly pointed out in the report that in other aspects also their condition is a matter of great concern.

In the field of education and health, the contribution of Christian Missionaries are quite well- known. Then, the larger question is-Why the condition of a large section of Christian community is not good?

It is a proven fact that Christians are merely 2.5 percent of the population but the Christian missionaries provide 22 percent of the health facility in the country. First Christian hospital was opened in India in 1530 in Tirunelveli of Tamil Nadu. Now, Catholic Christians run 764 hospitals, 2,575 dispensaries, 107 mental health asylums and 04 medical colleges. Protestant Christians run around 350 medical institutions. Despite this, Christian children are still uneducated and suffering from malnutrition in Punjab, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Contribution of Church in the field of education is so big and great that even detractors praise it. First regular school was opened in the year 1540 in Goa by the missionaries. Then another school was opened in Mumbai (1540), Cochin (1549), Punyakil in Tamilnadu (1567), Madurai (1565). Today, 48, 000, 00 students get education in missionary schools. However, Rangnath Misra Commission, on the basis of Catholic Bishop Conference of India, points out that percentage of education among Dalit Christians and Adivasis (Tribal) is less than other communities. This is indeed shocking.

Joseph Gathia, convener, Indian Christians Righteous Action Forum, says that for Indian society it is necessary to retrospect and look back in the centuries which have already passed. This can help us to know how to face the challenges posed in good and bad times in the past and present and what we can learn from our experiences in the past. We can transform our life through changes in our conduct and working style. This is the only way Church can find its way in the times to come.

Social activists and editor of monthly Church Restoration, PB Lomeo says, “After government departments and public sector undertakings Church is the biggest employer in the country. As per a rough estimates; through schools, hospitals and other social work activities Church provides employment to one crore people. Despite this fact, Christian youths are –be it male or female are desperately seeking for jobs.

According to Christian organisation ‘Poor Christian Liberation Movement’ (PCLM) Christian Community in the country is agitated due to its poor status. Statistics reveals the truth quite bluntly when it says that except Kerala, Nagaland, Goa and Mizorem literacy level of Christians cannot be said satisfactory and in some parts of the country it is even below 50 percent which is poor by any standard. Church has worked a lot for the educational upliftment of girls in Jharkhand, Orissa, and Chattisgarh. But, thousands of Christian girls are still migrating in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai for the menial jobs as household servants and suffer every-day humiliation.

Naresh Ambedkar, convener, Tamil Nadu Chapter of Poor Christian Liberation Movement, (PCLM) says, “First time after independence status of Christians has been assessed on the basis of population in Goa, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengluru. This has suppressed the problems of rural Christians in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Orissa. A vast majority of these Christians are agricultural laborers and landless poors. Problems of Dalit Christians are associated with this. Dalit Christians face discrimination in Church which is completely against the belief of Christianity”.

He said that instead of working for the welfare of this section even church is searching for solution (Ranganath Misra Commission Report) in caste-based reservation that is against ‘Canon-Law’.This is not acceptable to us. We have reviewed Rangnath Mishra Commission Report and sent it to central government. We have asked from the government that ‘How discrimination and offence against Dalit Christians will be stopped and eliminated inside the Church and Christianity by merely including dalit Christians in Scheduled Caste category’.  Law Minister Veerappa Moili and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid have assured us that before implementing the Ranganath Misra Commission Report government will take care of the issues raised by the movement.

After independence Indian Christians have been citizen of a secular state. How much flawed secular system Might be, how much non-representative democratic system might be but it is a fact that there are certain facilities availed by Churches and Christians here in India that are even not available to them in America and in Europe. For example, they have been given special rights to run educational institutions and getting grants from government.

What steps should be taken by Christians or Church in the current scenario? It is certain that Christians, by and large, do not feel connected with the umbilical cord of the country. They do not feel to be associated with the problems of this country. They are still dependent on Vatican and other western countries for the help. In times of trouble they trust more on unethical pressure imposed by western countries on Indian government and less on Indian Judiciary. This mindset of the community need to be changed.

Christians in this country, still, have not learnt the lessons to fight for the rights in democracy. They have been disconnected from the larger community. They behave more like an ostrich in desert which hides his head in sand and understands that he is safe. Christians should first free themselves from the politics of church and face the challenges from which our country is facing. They cannot make their lives better by remaining alienated from the larger section of the society. They will have to connect with the democratic powers of the country and search for the solutions in the Indian context.

They will have to participate actively otherwise there existence will be in danger. There is a greater need to form a clear understanding about religion and social responsibilities and distinction between them. Implementation of Ranganath Misra Commission Report will further accelerate this process of alienation and increase the gap between converted Christians and church. Allegations of conversion on Church will increase manifold. Missionaries from western countries will take undue advantage of this situation. Today, church has messed up social work and religion with each-other. As a result of this; converted Christians have been marginalised. For its own petty benefit church leadership is trying to cement castes in Christianity.

Joseph Gathia, convener of Indian Christian Rights Action Forum, says that there is complete lack of social movement in Christian society and Christians are far away from the national development programmes. There is an urgent need to participate in the social and economic projects that starts at the block level. In a democratic society, concerns should not be confined only to religious campuses as this speeds up the process of alienation which costs dearly. It is to be noted that democracy in India is not due to minority sections only but majority section should feel that Christians are with them in their struggle to save and enhance democracy.

Indian Christian society lacks leadership today, and the few urban based leaders they have, are busy baking their bread in the name of religion. They have nothing to do with the life, future and struggles of the majority Christians living in different parts of the country. Church will have to redefine its role in India. Time has come when Christians should do social audit and introspection so that they could have idea that why they are still waiting for the liberation?

*About the author: The writer is President, Poor Christian Liberation Movement.
III A/ 145, Rachana, Vaishali – 201010 (NCR)
Ph. 9810108046 Email: pclmfrancis@gmail.com



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launched an investigation into the alleged discrimination of millions of Dalit Christians, officials said Monday, November 28.

The term Dalit is used for the so-called "untouchables" of India, up to 300-million people, who occupy the lowest place in India's ancient caste system of Hinduism. Several millions of them are believed to be Christians, although there are no exact figures.

Churches and several Christian advocacy groups have been urging the Indian Supreme Court to restore legal rights for Dalit Christians which were taken away from them in 1950.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

Although the Indian government promoted affirmative action positions to Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist Dalits in university placements and government jobs, there was no mention of 'Christians'. Currently "when Dalits become Christians, they lose these rights," also referred to as 'reservations' added K.P. Yohannan, the president of Christian advocacy group Gospel for Asia (GFA), which supports native missionaries in India.

The NCRLM said it had already visited seven states to conduct research and ascertain the views of state governments. News of the ongoing investigations came after a weekend of public rallies in support of Dalit Christians in Orissa, an Indian state which has seen a series of attacks against Christians, BosNewsLife learned.

"The Dalit question comes up once again before the Supreme Court of India on Monday November 28 through the Public Interest Litigation writ filed by former Indian Law Minister Shanti Bhushan and other appeals by Dalit Christian groups," said John Dayal, president of the All India Catholic Union and an adviser to the government on religious affairs in a statement to BosNewsLife.

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

"The Central Government has asked the [NCRLM] headed by [the] former Chief Justice of India, Rangnath Mishra, to also enquire into the issue," he added.

Dayal claimed that Hindu bureaucrats linked to the previous Indian government of the Bharatiya Janata Party "successfully stonewalled and sabotaged" the current "government's efforts to restore full legal rights to Dalit Christians snatched from them in 1950."

Several political parties have expressed support for giving equal rights to Dalit Christians, but human rights groups fear a long political and legal process before the matter is resolved. (With BosNewsLife's Vishal Arora in New Delhi and Stefan J. Bos at BosNewsLife News Center).



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pclm Says: 

The Dalit Christians on Friday asked the Church leadership to stop fraudulent conversion in India among Dalits and Tribals. And it further demand that the foreign funds received by the church be used for the welfare and upliftment of the poor Christians who are suffering from the discrimination. The convention strongly urged the Govt of India not to appoint Bishops, priests and nuns in the government commissions and committed but instead it should appoint ordinary Christians. These and many other demands are raised in a resolution adopted at the national conventions organized by the Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) headed by R.L.Francis.

The convention urged the “Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and the National Christian Council of India (NCCI) to set up a 1000 crore “Dalit Christian Development” fund to ensure integrated social and economic development.

Considering the confusion created by the propagation activities in the far flung areas the convention adopted a resolution urging the church authorities to defer the mass conversion programme. The resolution stated that, “This assembly unanimously believes that evangelism cannot be a measurement of a society’s socio-economic development. Therefore, evangelism programme should be suspended for long years and funds should be saved and utilized for the welfare of Dalits and Trible Christians and deprived sections of society for creating awareness among them.”

The resolution also demanded reservation of seats for Dalit and Trible Christians as well as other Dalits in Church-run schools, colleges, technical institutions and other vocational organizations.

Three hundred delegates from different parts of the country, who attended the convention, alleged that a handful of priests and bishops were monopolizing the Church funds and property in the country. This has led to the worsening conditions of neo converted Christians were living in a pitiable condition and deprived of the basic necessities.

In his address, the National President R.L. Francis said that the church leadership is interested only in increasing the numbers and is hardly bothering about their living conditions. The biggest proof of this was that a large chunk of foreign funds were being utilized either for purchasing land and for the luxurious lifestyles of few Christians leaders in India . Bishops are monopolizing the Church estates and treating it as their own property and are indulging in its sale-purchase without the consent of the community,” he alleged.

Mr. Jawahar Singh, President Gertor India Foundation said 90 per cent to the maids working in cantt and its surrounding areas are Dalit and Trible Christians. Their children do not even complete their primary education, he said. Mr. Singh said that when he went to the priest of the church in the area to discuss the issue of maids and their children; he refused to say anything.

Mr. P B Lomeo, Christian activist and editor of a church newspaper, alleged that not one of the 40,000 educational institutions run by the church give admission to the children of Dalit Christians. The PCLM, which was launched to help Dalit and Trible Christians and provide them with a platform to express their grief, is the most powerful for them, Mr.Lomeo said.

Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary a catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Delhi said that “ in last two decades many poor Christians have gone back to Hinduism due to maltreatment by the church. “Even myself was treated bad fly as I am local Christian and not given any assiyment by Bishop of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese because I am a Dalit and local Priest.” he further stated.

Mr. Balbir Punj, a senior BJP think tank and member of Rajya SAbha suggested that the Church in India should honestly make a model for the progress of Dalits Christians. He also called for moratorium on conversion for the next ten years.

Raising the question of future of Christian children in India , well known human rights activist Joseph Gathia urged the Govt of India and the Supreme Court to redefine minority educational institutions. He further demanded declassification of those Christian minority institutions who do not admit Christian’s children in their schools.
Mr. Joseph Gathia opposed the caste base reservation for Christian community in India as it would institutionalize the discrimination in Christianity which is against its very basic principle. Such a move would darken the future of poor Christina’s children in India .

At National Convention, Mr. Meharban James, Bishop R.B.Sandu, Mr. Ashok Bharti, P.N. Ambdker and others express their views reading Casteism in Church.. The copies of the resolution passed in the convention would be sending to the Pope, the World Council of Churches, and Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India and UPA chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi..

PCLM RESOLUTION FOR NATIONAL CONVENTION

Nearly 300 delegates from different parts of the country who gather at the India Islamic Cultural Centre, Lodhi Road ., New Delhi passed the following resolutions unanimously on Friday 6th June 2008.

I Resolution:
We demand that Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI), National Council for churches in India (NCCI) and other church organizations drop the demand for pushing back the poor Christians in to the category of Scheduled Caste status. The teaching of Jesus Christ does not permit to discriminate among his followers. All Christians are born in the image of God.

If the Church in India pursue the reservation for Christians on the basis of caste then it must pay compensation to the poor Christians who got converted to the Christianity long back.

II Resolution:

(a) We urge the Govt. of India to institute a law allowing the Christians minority institutions to admit 50 % student who are Christians. Any Christians educational institute claiming Minority Status be punished if they refuse admission to a Christian child. Currently there is no such provision therefore the Church educational institutions are fearless. Those not following the directive be declassified and put under the Income Tax Act as commercial venture.

(b) We further urged the Govt hat no clergy (Bishops, priests and nuns) be appointed in Government committee, commissions etc. Instead the Govt should appointed ordinary Christians as the members such committees and commissions.. It has been observed that due to such appointments the Bishops, priests, and nuns are deviating format their original work of the Church and misusing their positions and funds.

(C) that the Government of India to introduce special laws to protect Church property and land as currently it is being misused and Sold by few interested group of people. As the land was given by the Govt of India long back on perpetual lease it is very much within the right to introduce such laws in the interest of the Christian community in India and for the betterment of the Dalit and Trible Christians.

III Resolution:

(a) We earnestly urge the Vatican to follow protest pattern in appointing the bishops in India , appointment of bishop by concesious of the local people. The Poor Christian Liberation Movement is opposed to the current procedure of appointing the Bishop in the Diocese by the top from Vatican who is not aware of the local conditions. The Vatican must follow the same law which is being followed in China .

(b) Representatives at the National Convention demand to CBCI to appoint lay people (especially Dalit and Tribal Christians) at the important positions in the institutions of Catholic Church.

(c) The Church in India is the largest employments giver after the Govt of India. Hence we demand that to solve the unemployment problem among poor Christians 50 % job reservations in Christians educational and medical institutions for these category be reserved in the Church institutions.

IV Resolution:

(a) Churches are bringing fund from abroad and spending crores of rupees on evangelization which creates confusion among the religions and bring disunity in the country. Evangelization must be stopped. Let the population grow within the religions. Church should not criticize another religion. Let all the religions grow freely. Church leaders must spend crores of rupees for the upliftment of the Dalit and Trible Christians rather than on evangelization.

(b) The Poor Christian Liberation Movement feels that a time has come when pluralistic societies are to be accepted. It has already been done in the Western Christians countries. Therefore the focus on fraudulent conversion and only increasing number of “rice Christians” would not really serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church in India needs to promote multi culturalism and inter faith dialogues.
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(c) In order to facilitate resource for education and training for the children of the poor Christians particularly girls a 1000 crore rupee fund be created in India by the Church. Such fund would help the Christian community to become self sufficient in the long run.

We feel that the time has come for Christians in India to suggest their Christian brethren and sisters in the West that all afforts must be made to make the community self sufficient and not dependent. We the Christians in India wish that the foreign funds must be diverted to poor people of Africa .

(d) We strong feel that the Church leaders should prove themselves as good shepherds who can lead their sheep selflessly and serve OUR LORD Jesus Christ as per his teachings. Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor.

MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDE US IN OUR ENDEAVOUR.
email- francispclm@yahoo.com



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An internal battle wages in the Church

By Priyanka P. Narain
Mumbai:
When Father William Premdas Chaudhary, the only Dalit priest in the Delhi archdiocese, began highlighting the plight of his community three years ago, his parish was taken away from him.
“I became a nuisance to the archbishop by raising issues faced by lower castes in churches. So they sidelined me,” he claims.
They converted to Christianity to escape the caste system of Hinduism, but even in the church, Dalits (or lower caste) remain at the bottom of the hierarchy, facing discrimination, unequal access to education, even the persistence of preface: “Dalit Christians”. But hope has stirred, ironically, out of attacks on their own. In an unprecedented move last week, the pope of the Roman Catholic Church issued a statement condemning the Orissa violence that killed dozens in the wake of the unsolved murder of a vocal anti-missionary Hindu leader. Since the Vatican has rarely addressed Indian Christians before, Dalit Christians hope the pope will now look deeper inside the practice of the religion in India—perhaps condemn caste, enforce equality, make conversions more honest and renew their flagging faith.
As churchgoers dwindle in Europe—according to pollster Gallup International, attendance declined from 60-65% in 1980 to 20% in 2000—countries such as India with its enormous potential for conversion have become more important for the Vatican. But an old hierarchical civilization such as India poses unique challenges, explains R.L. Francis, president of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement. Here, “the higher castes of Christianity, Syrians, Mangloreans and Goans from south India dominate churches in the country and treat Dalit converts like second-class citizens,” he says.
Some Dalit Christians also say that the violence in Orissa offers lessons for the church to proceed with caution in its approach to conversions—and first fix relations among existing followers. Pro-Hindu organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad say, for example, that conversion should not be linked to basic needs, such as access to health care or school.
The meek shall inherit
“We have known injustice for generations. It’s wonderful when someone tells you, ‘All human beings are the children of god,’” says Francis, whose grandfather had converted from Hinduism to Christianity.
In Orissa, new converts quickly realize that religious change does not mean equality. For instance, among the Panos, who were originally animists, those who converted came to dominate the social order of the state. They own businesses, hold positions of power and also dominate the clergy, while the condition of tribals remains unchanged.
The strange hierarchy enters economics and politics in other ways; tribal Christians can avail of Scheduled Tribe status, while Dalit Christians cannot of Scheduled Caste status, although certainly there have been efforts to expand quotas to them. In the district of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, P.B Lomiyo, editor of the magazine, Christian Restoration, says Dalits face similar challenges nationwide. Lomiyo says, “The clergy raise funds for schools for Dalits, but don’t give admission to them. When Dalits demand their rights, they react and encourage the parish to boycott the Dalits.”
One area of great contention has been schools. Father Benjamin Chinnappa, a priest who works in Chicago, runs a school for Dalit children near Puducherry with his US salary.
Even though Dalits need the education and upliftment most, he says, “the school administrators want to keep performance high. They want to compete with other schools and want people who can pay tuition.”
The issue is not entirely new, though. Father Anthony Kurusinkal, editor of The Examiner archdiocesean newspaper for Mumbai, says he had studied the issue of Dalit Christians in 1984 at the request of the Vatican and had made a presentation in the city-state, advocating greater representation from the Dalit community in church leadership. “They wanted to know what the situation is,” he said. “And they decided that no appointments to the post of bishop or archbishop will be made on the basis of caste in India.”
But that was 24 years ago.
Since then, inequality has deepened and become entrenched in the church, says Chinnappa. “The bishops and archbishops will not accept it. But this discrimination against the Dalits is the bitter reality of the Christian church in India.”
The silent church
So far, the Vatican has not addressed the divide, saying it must be resolved by Indian church officials. The pope’s representative in India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, declined to comment.
However, the website of Catholic Bishops Conference of India discusses how the government and the Constitution of India have failed Dalits. But it does not list any programmes or policies specifically for them run by the church.
And the Vatican’s directive that bishops should not be chosen on the basis of caste has made no impact on the ground, Kurusinkal says. “There is constant in-fighting going on when a leader is chosen. If it is an area with high caste majority, they will insist that one among them becomes the bishop or priest. If it is a lower caste majority, they want a leader from among them,” he said. Francis alleges that there is no interest in fixing the problem and insists that like all other Dalit Christians, “I am subtly reminded to remember who I am—an untouchable.”
He says letters sent to the Vatican demanding help have met silence. “But we will not be silent. The church leaders in India should stop asking the government to give us the status of the Scheduled Caste. When we embraced Christianity, we came to the Church for a better life,” he says. “Now they cannot go back on it.”
In some cases, the Church’s willingness to look the other way has been in some Indians’ favour, on issues such as birth control and abortion, for example.
Francis says that is because the Vatican has one lone interest in India: conversion. “They have only set up a business enterprise here,” he said, “… solely for promoting conversions, none for Dalit upliftment. We are asking the Vatican to stop all conversion in India for the next 100 years and spend the money on healing those who have already come to the faith.”
Rajdeep Datta Ray contributed to this story from Orissa.
Next: In Orissa, Hindus and Christians alike say some missionaries have used deceitful means to convert villagers.
Mint
http://www.livemint.com
Wed. Septmber 3, 2008



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Demand for Waqf like Board for Church properties

New Delhi: Monday, February 5, 2009:
Considering the large scale fraudulent deals and selling of mission properties in several places in India, the Madhya Pradesh Minority Commission has suggested to the State Government to set up a Waqf like Board to protect Church properties.

The Poor Christian Liberation Movement, President R.L. Francis, whole heartedly supports the proposal mooted by the Madhya Pradesh State Minority Commission and appeals the church hierarchy to examine the proposal with open mind and in sincerity.

The Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) has earlier on August 27, 2004 submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh demanding an agency for the protection of Christian properties on the pattern of Waqf Board. This demand was again repeated on June 6, 2008 in New Delhi.

Opposing the Waqf like board for the protection of Mission properties the Madhya Pradesh Catholic Bishops Conference (MPCBC) has termed the proposal as anti -constitutional and has opposed it on the technical ground. The MPCBC has also called for the excommunication of the lone Christian member of the Madhya Pradesh state Minority Commission Mr. Anand Bernard. This step by the local bishops is not only against Christian ethics but also anti constitutional too. The Poor Christian Liberation Movement demands withdrawal of excommunication proposal by the MP Bishops and seeks apology from them.

After closely examining the proposal the PCLM has come to conclusion that there is nothing objectionable in the proposal. If there was anything wrong in the Wafk Board then Muslim brethren would have opposed it. Therefore, it is not appropriate to oppose the proposal mooted by the M P state Minority Commission for setting up a Waqf like Board for the Christians.

President of the Movement Mr. R L Francis said that, The matter is very serious and affects Christian community at all India level hence the Poor Christian Liberation Movement -PCLM demands that the Christian leaders and intellectuals such as : Dr. John Deal, Fr. T. K. John s j, Mr.Wilson Thampu, Mr.Joseph Gathia, Mr.Sajan George, Dr. J D’souza, Mr. Michael Pinto, Mrs. Mary John, Ms.Ruth Manorama, Mr. J.Macwan ,Mr. P B Lomeo, Bishop R B Sandhu, Supreme Court Advocate Julian Francis, Rev. Richard Howell, and others convey a national level seminar for the community to discuss the proposal rather than outrightly rejecting it.

The Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) appeals the Bishops of Madhya Pradesh to withdraw the excommunication threat and tender unconditional apology to Anand Bernard. The Movement further urges the Vatican representative in India, the pro-nuncio, not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country. India is a sovereign country.

Several cases of selling church property illegally have come of light in Jabalpur, Damoh, Indore, Ratlam, Raipur, Bilaspur, Nagpur, Agra, Saharanpur, Lucknow,Ludhiana, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Calcutta, etc. therefore it is in the interest of the Christian community to have a Waqf Board like national agency for the proper upkeep and protection of the mission property.

R.L.Francis
National President, PCLM



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Church Must Consider Waqf like Board

New Delhi, March 4, 2009 : Reacting to the Madhya Pradesh government’s proposal to set up a waqf like board to manage Mission properties the Catholic Church hierarchy in Bhopal are likely to move the High Court in the state. The Poor Christians Liberation Movement –PCLM – once again appeals the Church leaders to examine the proposal with positive angle and wants them that such a move would open Pandora s box.

The PCLM president R.L. Francis stated that the demand to set up a waqf like board for Church properties was first raised in Kerala about ten years ago when several cases of malpractice were deducted. Likewise the church properties and land were sold in Agra, Luck now, and Delhi etc. “The Christian community then felt that to save mission properties from encroachment & misuse a watchdog body appointed by the government would be helpful” said R.L. Francis.

Reacting to the proposal of Waqf like board for Mission properties in Madhya Pradesh an independent well known human rights campaigner Joseph Gathia stated that there is no doubt that church properties are in danger today from several quarters and some mechanism to protect it is required. Whether it is Waqf like board or some other agency must be decided by the Christian minority community in accordance with the constitutional provisions.

The Catholic Church in Madhya Pradesh is misinterpreting the definition of the mission properties. The Poor Christians Liberation Movement – PCLM is of the opinion that at several places the Church was granted land on nominal lease fee by the then British Government. After the independence the Church added new properties by purchasing land and building institutions with the help of “donations” in the name of Christian community and under the legal protection of charitable minority institutions. So it is a community property and hence requires a watchdog body save it.

The argument by the Archbishop of Bhopal, Leo Cornelio, that they have purchased these properties. Then the question arises from where did they got the funds. Where does the surplus money earned by the high fee charging convent schools is invested? Are the poor Christian employees given bonus and other facilities?

Once again the PCLM urges the Church Bishops and priests to solve the problem through the dialogue rather then going to the court.



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R L Francis Says:
March 15th, 2009 at 8:36 am
• Posted: Thu, Mar 12 2009. 10:14 PM IST
A high price for religious conversion?
Moving to Christianity, Dalits have missed out on, among other things, caste-based reservation benefiting only Hindus
Priyanka P. Narain
New Delhi: When Abhishek John’s father died last year and he couldn’t pay the Rs900 fee for his final school term, he was thrown out of St John’s Cathedral College in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, and barred by the principal from taking the class IX exam.
Nothing’s changed: R.L. Francis, founder of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement, an organization campaigning for Dalit rights, says the condition of Dalit Christians hasn’t changed since independence. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
“We told him (principal) we would pay as soon as we could arrange for the money, but he refused to listen,” Anthony Parminder, the student’s brother-in-law, said in a phone interview. John, 15, is appearing as a private candidate for his class X examination this year.
John’s scheduled caste (SC) Hindu family had converted to Christianity hoping to escape caste-based discrimination. But the so-called Dalit Christians, as such converts are known, are finding that a change of religious identity does not mean a change in their social situation. And converts who proclaim their change of faith openly lose out on benefits such as caste-based reservations offered for SC candidates.
Now, some Christian leaders are demanding reservations for Dalit Christians, who make up an estimated 70% of the 24-million-strong Christian community in India. A growing section of Dalit Christians, however, say they are being forced back to an abusive system they had sought to flee.
Vinod Peter, president of the Jhansi Catholic Association, says John’s case is just one instance of what has been happening to many other young boys and girls in the town.
Also Read When Samnan would rather be Somnath
“We went to plead with the principal, but to no avail. He simply asked us why don’t we find a way to help him pay his fees. Even we are poor people, where do we get money from?” asks Peter.
“Children from other communities become doctors and government officers,” he says. “Our children become high-school dropouts and waiters. We know there is a lot of donation coming into India to help poor Christians. What I want to know is where is it all going. What I see is that priests who used to travel on cycles now have cars and fancy homes to live. But they don’t have Rs900 to help for a boy’s education.”
The Indian system provides reservations under the SC category only for Dalit Hindus, meaning they renounce the benefits of affirmative action such as reservations in government jobs and education institutions when they convert. A presidential order issued in 1950 laid down that “no person who professes a religion different from the Hindu (the Sikh or the Buddhist) religion shall be deemed to be a member of a scheduled caste.”
No one has a clear estimate of how many people have actually converted to Christianity because converts often choose to remain silent about the change in their faith. They fear that if they announce they have converted, they will lose the benefits of SC status.
Converts often remain silent about their change in faith to retain scheduled caste status, benefits
Both Christians and Muslims are demanding similar benefits. “In India, the caste system has spared no one,” says the Rev. George Gispert from the Vidya Jyoti College in the Capital.
For instance, even though 70% of Indian Christians are Dalits, there are just two or three Dalit bishops in a total of 160 bishops in India. “All over the country, there are different groups of Christians having problems with each other. Although Christianity itself has no caste system, the system is part of practised Christianity in India. So, whatever help (reservations) the Dalit Hindus are getting because they were discriminated against, should also be extended to Dalit Christians,” Father Gispert argues.
Many in the Christian clergy acknowledge that the problem needs to be fixed. But unlike the so-called Dalit Muslims, who are almost unanimously in favour of reservations under the SC category, the Dalit Christians are divided. They say the Christian clergy is shirking its responsibility.
“The condition of Dalit Christians is no better than it used to be before independence. We are unorganized, uneducated, leaderless and socially ostracized,” said R.L. Francis, founder of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement, an organization campaigning for Dalit rights within the Christian religion, and author of the book, Aastha se Vishwasghat (Betrayal of Faith).
Hindu Dalits have seen their social situation transform in the last 60 years, Francis says. The change started with the bhoodan andolan (land donation movement) of 1951 when, responding to a call by freedom fighter and social reformer Vinoba Bhave, upper caste landlords gave away 4 million acres to the poor, including Dalits.
“Meanwhile, we waited. When we converted, the Church had promised us equality and promised to protect our interests and undertake measures for us. But what we got is more discrimination,” said Kamal Joseph, founder of the Ideal Christian Association in Jhansi.
“For example, our children face educational discrimination because we are poor. In Jhansi, there are very good Christian schools. But while children from other castes are able to study there, poor Christian children are thrown out by sixth or seventh grade because we cannot afford the fees,” Joseph says.
Whatever the reality, the perception that the Christian clergy is not looking after its poor persists. Stories of disillusionment and re-conversion have begun to appear regularly in the media.
Last April, about 1,000 Dalit Christians reconverted to Hinduism in Chennai, saying they were disappointed by the discrimination within the Christian religion.
Similar unconfirmed reports of re-conversion ceremonies have emerged from various parts of the country, including Uttar Pradesh.
“These problems are sharper in rural areas where people hold on to old practices,” says Anthony Charanghat, director of the Catholic Communication Centre and editor of Examiner magazine in Mumbai.
The conflict is evident in Jhansi. “These people (missionaries) come to rural villages, hold camps. They tell poor people to convert to Christianity and things like ‘we will educate your children’, ‘we will help you buy your home’ and all that. When the poor people do convert, the missionaries abandon them and go after other people,” says Joseph, 28, who converted to Christianity when he was in high school.
“That is when the new converts realize their mistake. Now they have lost their reservation rights and they realize they are getting nothing from the church,” Joseph says. “When entire villages began reconverting to Hinduism, the priests woke up to the plight of Dalit Christians. But even now, they will not resolve it. They want the government to give them reservation and want the government to do their work for them. Christianity is a good faith but the people who are supposed to do God’s work are not.”
Charanghat says there is a distinction between what the Church believes and what is practised because of “the human element. People change their faith, but they don’t change their prejudices.”
“A Dalit Hindu continues to remain backward after he becomes a Christian. The church always insists that all Dalits be given the same privileges. Socially they are still backward and need as much advantage as the Hindus Dalits,” he adds. “No law can be made on the basis of religion. Restricting this affirmative action to Hindus alone is not right. And the demand that Christians be treated equally within their own fold, is also fair. We have a lot of political distinctions between upper and lower castes in Christianity, and this is more overt in rural areas. We are doing everything we can to prevent such discrimination. But that does not change the fact that Dalit Christians should get reservations too.”
This is the second in a three-part series on the quest of non-Hindu communities for caste-based reserved quota.

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R L Francis Says: 

Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM)
Office:- IIIA/145, Rachana, Vashali – 201010 (NCR) India
Telefax 0120, 4569131 Cell. 9810108046
Email:-francispclm@yahoo.com

PRESS RELEASE
On the eve of Good Friday

Christian urges Church to propagate message of Love

New Delhi, April 9, 2009: All over the world Christians remember Jesus Christ for message of love and forgiveness on the Good Friday but the Church in India is using language of hate and division during the current Lok Sabha election time, acceding to a press release by the Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM).

The PCLM has noted that certain bishops are falsely propogating that Christians in Orissa are not safe therefore the elections there should be postponed. The PCLM differs from such assessment and feels that the Christian churches are creating ill feeling against one particular community and a political party. Such a move is dangerous as it divides the Indian community. Mr. R L Francis, the president of PCLM stressed that some people are falsely propogating such things for their own benefit.

The PCLM urges that the Election Commission should call for an explanation from the Archbishop of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar. Rt. Rev Raphael Cheenath as to why he is propagating in foreign countries that the elections in Kandhamal Orissa should be postponed. The PCLM will also be drawing the attention of Smt. Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, Shri Rajnath Singh, president BJP and other political parties to raise this issue before the Election Commisiosn.

R.L.Francis
President – PCLM



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PCLM Says: 

Missionary schools are not teaching poor: dalit Christian body

New Delhi, Sep 8: Only 20 per cent of Christian students from the economically or socially deprived sections of the community constitute around 40 lakh students being taught in Christian schools across the country, a Christian body claimed here today.

Nearly 70 per cent of child labour in India belong to Dalit, tribal or converted Christian community as very few children from these communities get enrolled in missionary schools, Poor Christian Liberation Movement, a Dalit Christian body, said. It is, therefore, not surprising that school dropout rate among children from these communities is high as 40-45 per cent as compared to 25 per cent for students from other communities. ”Is it not an affront to our Christian consciousness,” Movement’s president R L Francis asked.

“The question that bothers us is whether Christians are really serving the poor or just running good schools for the rich and elite in the country,” he asked, adding Christian educational institutions have diverted from their objective of educating the poor and marginalized.

- UNI
2009 published with permission from United News of India



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Christian organization against on Ranganath Misra Report

New Delhi, March 19, 2010: On Yesterday, Dalit Christians has asked the church leaderships to stop the further in increasing and strengthening casteism in the church in India. Hundred of delegates of Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) form different parts of the country, who attended the convention. They discussed the Report of Ranganath Misra and the delegates opposed unanimously the report which misleads the government of India.

The PCLM President R L Francis said that ‘National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) will bring great harm to the growth of Church in India in future. We opposed the implementation of this report .It is also contrary to the principles of Christianity and will “legalize” caste system in Christianity. Reservation is being given on the basis of “religion” which is unconstitutional as the caste is not recognized under the Canon laws.

Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) appealed to the ‘World Council of Churches’ and the ‘Vatican’ to appoint a religious commission to determine whether ‘caste’ system is applicable in the Christianity or not. We also appeal to the Islamic intellectuals around the world to examine the recommendations of the Ranganath Misra Report in the light of the teachings of the Holy Quran.

Indian Christian Righteous Action Forum (ICRA) President, Joseph G. Anthony opposed the caste base reservation for Christian community in India as it would institutionalize the discrimination in Christianity which is against its very basic principle. Such a move would darken the future of poor Christina’s children in India.

Christian leaders, P.B.Lomeo, Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary and Meharban James said that the church bodies are demanding reservation from the government of India whereas in their own institutions are neglecting and ill treating the Christian of Dalit background.

PCLM Resolution for National Convention

Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) resolution for National Consultation on “Ranganath Misra Commission Report’- Implication for Dalit & Christians in India” pclm delegates from different parts of the country who gather at the Constitution Club, V.P.House, Rafi Marg, New Delhi passed the following resolutions unanimously on Thursday 18 March, 2010.

Resolution:

1 We oppose ‘National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities’ (NCRLM) on the grounds that it is contrary to the principles of Christianity and will “legalize” caste system in Christianity. Reservation is being given on the basis of “religion” which is unconstitutional as the caste is not recognized under the Canon laws.
2 We appeal to the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Vatican to appoint a religious commission to determine whether ‘caste’ system is applicable in the Christianity or not. All the important decisions to run the Church and the Christians around the world.

3. The Church of India runs large number of schools, hospitals, institutions ect. We urge the Church authorities to implement the main recommendations of the NCRLM (Ranganath Misra report) for reservation to Dalit Christians in their own structure instead of demanding reservation from government of India.

4. We appreciate Smt. Asha Das, member secretary of the ‘National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities’ (NCRLM) who wrote dissenting note opposing reservation for the Dalit Christians on the basis of caste.

5. All over the country the Christian public properties are being sold. We demand that the Government of India nationalize the public institutions like hospitals, colleges and church lands which are being sold to private parties due to various reasons. We oppose the sale of Christian hospitals, church land of Barely and other places in India without the knowledge of Christians.



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Business of education in the name of minority rights
By RL Francis

Justice Ranganath Misra Commission report has caught the attention of the entire country. It has strengthened the demand of the Church and the Christian organizations to provide reservation for the Dalit Christians. They are holding rallies and meetings to pressurize the Union government to implement the Misra Commission report.

But, the question arises here whether the Church and these Christian organizations have ever thought of first giving admission to the students and recruiting teachers from their own community in the Christian missionary run schools. The fact of the matter is that the percentage of the Christian students and teachers in these schools is negligible. They run the schools and educational institutions just to do business and earn profit instead of doing service to their own community.

Interestingly, all the governments at the Centre, irrespective of the political party, have tried to appease the Church and Christian organizations. The policies of BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has not been very different when it comes to Church and Christian organizations.

It may be mentioned here that.“National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions” had proclaimed its verdict recently that the number of students from minority community does not hold a valid basis while granting or taking away recognition of minority institution. Their status of minority institute will remain intact whatever be the number of non-minority community students in the institution. This decision is contrary to an earlier verdict of the apex court in which minority institutions had been directed to fill certain limit of total admission quota by the minority community students.

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had constituted the ‘National Commission for Minorities Educational Institution’ (NCMEI) in 2004 for sake of convenience to the minority educational institutions under the stewardship of a former judge Justice M.S.A.Siddiqui. Minority communities have been given freedom, under the article 30 of the Indian Constitution, to establish and run their own educational institutions. Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are running a large number of minority educational institutions under the act.

The basic objective behind giving these special rights under article 30 of the Constitution was to promote the language, script, culture and religious education of the community. However, Indian Church and Christian Missionaries have misused this right to fulfill their own agenda after the independence. They have often used this right as a tool for expansion. Church has gained much in this bargain by granting admissions to the children of high profile politicians and bureaucrats sitting in the corridors of power in their 5-star convent schools.

Lots of cases against arbitrary decisions have even come in the Supreme Court. The Court had said that the minority educational institutions will have to take care of the students of minority communities to a certain level. These institutions will be free to admit the children of non-minority community but in any circumstances they cannot overlook the interests of the students of the minority community. If a minority educational institution is found violating this order, their minority status could be withdrawn. The Court had even said that if the State Governments want they can decide certain percentage of seats for the students of the minority communities for such institutions.

Complaints of Sikh and Muslim students not getting admission in their own institutions are rare. Actually, this problem persists with the institutions run by the Church. The Church has laid a web of educational institution across the country.The influence of Church can be ascertained from the fact that -Christian community which is merely 2.5 percent of the total population of the country- has monopoly over the 22 percent of the educational institutions and even then around 15 percent of the Christian children in the cities and 40 percent in the rural areas are illiterate. The convent schools administered and run by the Church do not give admission to the poor Christian children at all.

In a programme organised by Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) in the national capital Region of Delhi, a Dalit Christian leader said, “The Christian educational institutions are here to serve rich instead of the poor Christians. Even in metros like Delhi; the number of the Christian students in these institutions is negligible. The special rights entrusted by the Constitution are being used to churn money and for the expansion of the Churches.” Had church played its role honestly it would not have to demand to include its followers in the list of Scheduled Caste and notifying Ranganath Misra Commission report.

Several complaints of above mentioned nature were constantly coming to National Commission for Minority Educational Institution. Keeping this in mind The Telegraph- Calcutta on March 7, 2010 published an article and quoted the Chairman of the Commission, Justice M.S.A.Siddiqui saying, “The educational institutions run by the Indian Church should have at least 30 percent Christian students and if this is violated such institutions will loose their minority institution status.” Echoing the same view even Supreme Court had said in its 2005 verdict that the benefit of minority education institutions should necessarily percolate to those community students in the name of whose progress they have been established. The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Siddiqui had said, “Educational institutions of Sikh and Mislim community are giving maximum benefit to the students of their community. Here, the problem lies with the institutions run by Christians. So the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution has ratified this proposal that those Christian educational institutions that fails to maintain minimum 30 percent Christian students will loose their minority status.”

Entire Indian Church establishment openly stood against this order of the NCMEI. Catholic Bishops Confernce of India (CBCI), Commission for Education and Culture expressed their serious disagreement before the Prime Minister and the Education Minister against the verdict of the commission for fixing the minimum limit of minority students in church run institutes. The Bishop conference said to the Prime Minister that ‘Article 30 (1) of constitution gave them right to run their institutions and there has been no percentage fixed to get the minority status. Since our number is also less so we (Bishop Conference) condemn this decision. Since then
Commission was looking for a way out to change its decision which it soon got an opportunity after controversy between Church run school and Odisha government. Odisha government had alleged that percentage of the Christian students in the school is very less so the minority status of the school should be withdrawn. NCMEI smelt the opportunity to change its verdict and changed its earlier decision in a single stroke and stated that no minimum percentage is required to run a minority school.

Human Rights Activist Joseph Gathia believes that the right to run educational institution was imparted keeping certain responsibilities in mind. The aim was to promote the interests of backwards and poorer sections of the community by their own community so that they could stand with equal footing with relatively well-off communities. It will not be unconstitutional to impose some restriction in order to stop the mis-use . Taking legal recourse on denying admissions to minority students falls in the same domain. Joseph Gathis asks – If Indian Church does not want to run these institutions for their own community, then for whom they want to run these institutions?

Should the decision given by the NCMEI and the flimsy logic put forward by the Catholic Bishops Confernce of India (CBCI) and Commission for Education and Culture before Prime Minsiter- that no percentage has been fixed in the constitution- be construed as a guarantee to open education institution in every nook and corner of the country bluffing constitutional provisions just for the sake of churning money. There are hundreds of convent schools like Saint Columbus, Jesus and Mary, Mater Dei, Saint Thomas which are being run in and around Delhi under the minority status. Has the government ever bothered to find the percentage of the minority community in these educational institutions?

Here, one example will be sufficed. In Saint Thomas school run by the Catholic Church in the NCR has around 1500 students and among them number of Christian students is less than 50. Similarly, in Khatauli which is very close to Delhi, there is hardly any Catholic family but convent school is there. Now, the question arises that if students and teachers in these school are not Christian, then for the conservation of which religion, language and culture, the Church is using the minority rights?

Vested interest groups are exploiting the loopholes in the constitutional provisions for their expansion. The aim of the constitutional provision was to promote interests of the minority and not to give freedom to run commercial educational institutions in the name of minority educational institution.

The Church and Christian organizations should introspect and evolve a road map for the betterment of the poor Christians. Instead of asking the Centre to implement the Report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) also known as Ranganath Misra Commission report, it should first ensure of giving adequate quota to the students and teachers of its own community in the missionary run schools. Otherwise, their credibility will be further eroded.

R L Francis
National President – Poor Christian Liberation Movement
IIIA/145, Rachna, Vaishali – 201010 (NCR) India
Ph. 9810108046



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Minority Rights in India: Christian Experiences and Apprehensions

Emanual Nahar

Minority rights have gained greater visibility and relevance all over the world. India is no exception to it being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural society. Diversity of all types is the very soul of India. It is in this context that minority rights have assumed added significance in post-independence India. When India attained independence after its division on religious lines, religious minorities became very apprehensive of their identity. According to a survey (2001) at that time there were 11.67 per cent Muslims, 2.32 per cent Christians, 1.79 per cent Sikhs and considerable number of Buddhists (0.77 per cent), Parsees (0.4 per cent) and Jains (0.43 per cent) in India.

After World War II, the world’s minorities locked within the state have increased rather than decreased in numbers. So far as India’s case is concerned, the trajectory reveals that India has almost always had a composite population. The Constitution of free India has give recognition to a number of languages in the Eighth Schedule and there are five religious groups which have been given the official status of National Minorities, namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees. The framers of the Constitution bestowed considerable thought and attention upon the minority problem in all its facets and provided constitutional safeguards; yet the issue has evaded solution till today. Consequently, the progress of minorities in India is beset with problems including those of prejudice and discrimination.

Even the dominant Muslim community has several grievances. It is perceived by many that they lag behind in educational progress because of economic hardship and discrimination against them in the education field. No special efforts have been made to fulfil the needs of Muslims which belong to the lower strata of society. The grievances of the Sikhs in India are largely political with subdued economic overtones. The grievances of all religious minorities seem to be related to the operation of state agencies. Questions about problems between the majority and minorities that arise are:

• What status has the polity granted to its minorities?

• What are the problems faced by the minorities especially in the context of inclusion and exclusion in state- building in post-colonial India?

• How are they able to assert themselves?

• What is the role and extent of their participation in politics and socio-economic developments?

• What is the extent of prejudice and discrimination faced by them?

Today minority rights have introduced two new dimensions into democracy. First, they made community a legitimate subject of political discourse; and second, they placed the issue of inter-group equality on the agenda. The Indian experience also reveals that minority rights present two important problems for a democratic polity. One, minority rights privilege the community’s cultural practices over the principle of equal rights for all citizens. Two, recognised minorities are not always sensitive to the plight of internal minorities. Thus, while special safeguards provided to identified minorities curb the hegemony of any one community or the nation-state, they do not guarantee free and equal status to all groups and communities in society.

II

The principle of non-discrimination and the concept of common citizenship are enshrined in all provisions of the Indian Constitution. The first and foremost is the Right to Equality (Article 14) which is an extension of the rights ensured in the Preamble to the Constitution. Article 14 of our Constitution says:

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law and shall provide equal protection for every person within the territory of India.

Though this Article appears to be very short and simple, it is one of the greatest pillars of democracy. It protects both minority and majority alike against the discriminatory conduct of the government both negatively and positively. This provision embodies a concept which is a hall-mark of democracy. However, to the question as to whether the Indian minorities really enjoy this fundamental right to equality, the answer, unfortunately, is ‘no’. Because in the real sense, Indian minorities do not fully enjoy some of the basic fundamental rights. The major problems faced by the Christian minority with regard to fundamental rights are as given below.

The discrimination on grounds of religion is very clearly prohibited by Article 15 of our Constitution which says in clause (1): “The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth etc.” This fundamental right against discrimination on ground of religion is one of the most important rights for the flourishing of any religiously pluralistic society as we have in our country.1 But unfortunately, we are till now unable to implement what Article 15 last down. This mandate of “non-discrimination against any person on grounds of religion” given in Article 15 of the Constitution has still not been enforced totally, even though the Constitution was promulgated more than 58 years ago. This right, which existed, in whatever little extent, before the promulgation of the Constitution, was lost when our Constitution came into being.

The third paragraph of the Presidential Order of 1950 was amended by Parliament to extend constitutional benefits to the ‘Dalit Sikhs’ (1956) and the ‘Buddhists’ (1990) along with the ‘Hindus’, but similar benefit was refused to the Dalit Christians. The denial of justice to the Dalit Christians is also against the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India on equal justice. The Presidential Order, as it was interpreted, was not only communalistic, it was also anti-Dalit. It tended to divide the Dalits on the basis of religioin. Regarding the criteria of amendment, the point made by Ramvilas Paswan in 1990 needs to be noted. Paswan, who was the then Union Minister of Welfare and Labour, while stating the objects and reasons for proposing to include Buddhists of Scheduled Caste origin in the list of Scheduled Castes, said that the change of religion does not alter social and economic conditions. But above all, the third paragraph of the 1950 Presidential Order is a direct contradiction of Articles 14, 15 and 25 of our Constitution since it had used religion as the criterion to describe who will be a Scheduled Caste. This needs to be deleted completely.2

In India the opportunities for employment are very scanty and the state is the greatest employer. The principle of non-discrimination and equality is also upheld in matters of public employment in the Constitution. Article 16 says: “No citizen shall, on grounds of religion, race or caste, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.”

The Constitution in Article 16 gives equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. But again, because of the Presidential Order of 1950 and the refusal of Shanker Dayal Sharma to issue an ordinance3 for reservation for Christians during the time of P.V. Narashima Rao as the PM the Article has been made infructuous. This has been made available to the Dalits in the fold of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism but not to those who are Christians. This also amounts to discrimination on grounds of religion which the ‘state’ is forbidden to effect under Article 15.

The denial of justice to the Dalit Christians goes against the letter and spirit of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution of India on equal justice, equal opportunities and freedom of religion. If a Scheduled Caste becomes a Christian, he loses all the reservation facilities, and if he produces a certificate of Scheduled Caste he gets back all the benefits. Even the children of the same Scheduled Caste parents, living under the same roof, sharing the same meals are discriminated against on the basis of religion. Sohan Singh gets all the reservation facilities. While his own brother Mohan Masih is denied all the benefits just because “Masih” happens to be a Christian. It is bad luck if any Christian symbol is noticed with him/her or at his/her residence. He/she loses all the service benefits. This also amounts to violation of the constitutional rights. Despite 59 years of our independence the Dalit Christians continue to be the victims of all kinds of ill-treatment. The history of independent India is both pathetic and shameful on the treatment meted out to Dalits.

The Mandal Commission’s report unambiguously stated that state assistance should be given to all genuinely backward sections of people irrespective of religion or caste which many thought would end discrimination against the poor among the minorities. But the ‘soft’ Communists or secularists or religious fanatics in the majority community are now said to have found another excuse to deprive the Christians of these facilities. The argument advanced is that the backwards having “un-Indian sounding or Anglo-Saxon” names cannot claim such benefits.4 They can afford to discriminate against Christians in this manner because they are a negligible “vote-bank”. This is the way our rulers create divisions, frictions and differences in our country.5

The other serious implication of the Presidential Order of 1950 is that it has also affected another fundamental right of the Dalit Christians, the right meant to protect their personal life as well as liberty. In the last 58 years of India’s independence, the country’s three largest minorities, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, have been targeted by fanatics of the majority community and other vested interests, on the basis of their religious identity alone, resulting in a serious assault on their basic rights, including the right to life itself. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution clearly stipulates: “No person shall be deprived of his right of personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” The fact that the Dalit Christians are not getting protection of life and personal liberty is manifest in the various government Acts and rules passed by Parliament to give special protection to the Scheduled Castes but these are not applicable to the Christians of Scheduled Caste origin during atrocities. These Acts and rules include Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955, Protection of Civil Rights Rule 1977 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. All these Acts and rules are supposed to give the SC (Dalits) special protection and rights against various kinds of atrocities and oppressions meted out to them by the people of so-called upper castes of forward classes. But this protection is not made available to Dalit Christians.

Although under Article 21, the State is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human being, it has failed to protect this right. There are a lot of violations. Such type of violations threatens the very right to life, physical integrity and health of citizens. Here are some of the headlines in the national media: “Persecution—Christians are now being systematically targeted”. It referred to the recent move of the then BJP run Delhi Government to denotify churches in Delhi as places of worship on the ground that “wine was served there”. “Saffron Brigade strikes again in Gujarat”. “Christian missionary school attacked, copy of New Testament burnt”—flashed Hindustan Times on July 22, 1998.6

Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives all citizens the “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion”. The Christians have almost always faced problems with this fundamental right specially with the last part of propagating its faith. A number of States such as Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have passed Acts through their legislature severely curbing this right. In many States like Punjab, the concerned authorities refused to allow any venue and date for religious conversions or religious conventions for preaching the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is undoubtedly a violation of Article 25. Father T.K. John also expressed the feeling that the basic rights of the religious minorities are violated in a number of ways.7

(a) Although some Indian State governments did enact legislations entitled ‘Freedom of Religion Bill’, these were full of ambiguities which were utilised by the state machinery to practise discrimination against religious minorities.

(b) Refusal to grant official recognition to certain religious groups and religious communities.

© Legal bias against certain religious groups and religious communities.

(d) Restriction on public information about religious groups by describing only a preferred religion in official text books and ignoring the others. In Gujarat, the State’s BJP Government is also trying to impose some limitation on freedom of conscience and free profession of religion.

Although Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives wide opportunity to profess, practise and propagate any religion, from time to time it has been interpreted by the various Courts of law which have imposed many limitations. As the Supreme Court held in the case of Stainless versus Madhya Pradesh (1977), the right to propagate does not mean the right to convert others forcibly. However, he/she is entitled to accept or adopt another religion by his own choice and free will.8

In recent times, some Hindu organisations have raised a hue and cry over this matter, and are in favour of adding some amendments in Article 25. As L.K. Maitra said in the Constituent Assembly,

The very foundation of society in India being religion, it will lose all her spiritual values and heritage unless the right to practise and propagate any religion is recognised as a fundamental right.

But the States were practical enough to make it a conditional right. So, when propagation affects the religious sentiments of other communities or conversion involves some sort of force or fraud, it goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.9

An attempt was made in 1977, during the regime of the Janata Government through a Private Member’s Bill at the Central level, for prohibition of conversion which, of course, could not win legilsation sanction from the majority of members. In July 2001, Anant Gangaram Geeta, a Shiv Sena MP, moved a Private Member’s Bill named the Prohibition on Religious Conversion Bill, 2001 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill was opposed by the Opposition and the Sangh Parivar failed to muster enough support for it to get it through. Besides the above, the Christian Evangelists and Church workers had to face consistent opposition to practising and propagating their faith. They were also attacked physically many a time and harassed by the fanatic groups in a number of States such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, UP, Maharashtra and Punjab. In December 1999, non-Christians organised a rally at Ahwa in Dangs district in the Gujarat State on Christmas Day projecting the alleged conversion of tribals to Christianity by the missionaries.10 In Punjab, religious conventions were disturbed at various places by the Sangh Parivar during the Akali-BJP regime. But the government did not take serious note of this problem and even refused to accept the recommendations of the National Minority Commission.

Aritcle 26 of our Constitution has given to all the religious minorities the right

• to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes,

• to manage their own affairs in matters of religion, in any manner they wish to administer and maintain such property in accordance with the law.

In Gujarat, the State Education Department issued a circular to the government aided schools to subscribe to a Gujarati magazine, Sadhana, which is wedded to the ideology of the RSS and Sangh Parivar. This is a direct violation of Article 26 of the Indian Constitution.11 The violation of Article 26 occurs when the freedom to establish religious institutions is curbed. The local administration generally refused permission to build, enlarge or renovate places of worship of the minority religious groups. This has become a major problem for the Christian community. To get permission for building a Church has become a nightmarish experience for the Christian applicants.12 The recent destruction of churches in certain parts of the country has further aggravated the threat to the right, guaranteed in the Constitution, and granted to the Christian community, along with other religious communities, to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes.13

III

Article 29 offers protection to the cultural rights of minorities and Article 30 (1) gives them the right to establish and administer educations institutions of their choice.

Clause 31(2) states that the state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

But with regard to the rights provided on Article 29 and 30 also, the Christians continue to face problems throughout the country. (Recently the Punjab Government enacted a law and imposed a lot of limitations on minority institutions. The first major problem which the Christian educational institutions are facing is the intervention of the State Education Department and Universities at different levels. Questions are being raised whether a special place can be offered to the members of the Christian community as students or trainees. The government not only discriminates against minority schools, colleges, nursing colleges, and hospitals in granting aid, but also imposes many rules and restrictions to prevent minority institutions from appointing their own candidates. When a vacancy comes up in schools and other institutions they are forced to accept the State’s choice to fill it and on many occasions Christian educational institutions have had to go to court to get justice.

Some of the fanatic groups are not in favour of a separate and distinct culture for minorities. They want that all minorities in India must give up their separate culture as India is one country and one culture. Prof Balraj Madhok suggested that the minorities must adopt Indian (Hindu) names. In short, they must adopt the Indian culture-the national culture—in their religion. Their religion should bend its loyalty towards Indian Nationalism.14

The suggestion made by Madhok is totally against the rights guaranteed under Article 29 of the Constitution which says:

Any section of citizens, residing in the territory of India, or any part thereof, having a distinct language or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same…all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practise and propagate their religion.

In fact the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs each have their own separate and distinct culture. The above utterances negate the guarantee given by the Constitution to conserve the culture of the minorities. Such utterances have been in vogue for many decades. It is a shame that the leaders of the largest democracy with a large number of religions allow the propagation of such mindless thoughts (which clearly trample underfeet the constitutional rights) against such a minuscule section of the population as Christians.

IV

The next problem is concerning Christian Personal Law which includes15 • the Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872, • the Indian Divorce Act 1869, and • the Indian Succession Act 1925.

These Acts were enacted under British rule and reflect the British point of view. Some contents and Acts have direct relationship to the English law and the Courts. For example, Section VIII of the Indian Dvorce Act 1869 says that for anything uncovered by this Act, the Indian courts shall follow the procedure of English Courts.16 Similarly the Christian Marriage Act 1872 has, at a number of places, references to the Churches of England and Scotland.17

The Indian Succession Act 1925 also has a number of weak points like the restrictions imposed on a widow’s right to property. All these discrepancies need immediate attention of both the Indian Christians as well as the Indian Government in order to introduce suitable amendments to these Acts. The Christian law is biased in circumstances of marriage, grounds for divorce, demand for damages and equitable relief. The need for a change has been widely recognised.

The campaign for changes in the Christian Personal Law was taken up at the Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) in 1983. Through several meetings held in different places, where Bishops, clergymen, lawyers, the laity of the churches and social activists participated, it came to a unanimous conclusion that the Christian Personal Law, as enacted and administered in India, was outdated, unjust and did not fairly meet the needs of the present generation. The Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872, the Indian Divorce Act 1869 and the Indian Succession Act 1925 had several sections that were discriminatory. The first two of these Acts were enacted more than a century ago and the third one is also almost three quarters of a century old. Women suffer and are treated differently from men. There is also a need to enable Christians to adopt children whenever the need arises.

The Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) along with the Church of North India drafted a new Christian Marriage and Maintenance Bill in 1985 with help of P.M. Bakshi, the then Member of the Law Commission. The Joint Women’s Programme also requested all the Churches to send in their consensus opinion and the Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Bill 1990, the Indian Succession Amendment Bill 1990, and the Christian Adoption and Maintenance Bill 1990 were formulated. Thereafter an economic committee for changes in the Christian Personal Law was formed. This committee studied the 1992 Bill and a draft was finalised to change the existing Acts covering marriage, divorce, succession and adoption. It also drafted a Christian Adoption Law 1994. The draft of the “Christian Marriage Bill” enabled the solution of cases of divorce on the grounds of cruelty by mutual consent and did away with the compulsion of restoration of conjugal rights. The Church leadership raised its voice to bring in changes in the Bill. The Fourth Law Commission studied the matter in its own free time. Matters moved in the late nineties and James Massey, a former member of the National Commission of Minorities, played a part in the formulation of another reformist draft which was submitted to the government in 1997 to replace the existing Acts covering marriage, divorce, succession and adoption.18

In April 2000, the Law Minister invited some Church leaders and women activists to discuss his proposed Christian Marriage Bill 2000. The Christian representatives demanded that if the Law Minister kept Sections 3 and 9 the same as were in the Bill of 1994, the proposed Bill will get the consensus of all churches throughout India. They would agree for the Bill 2000 to be introduced in Parliament. This bill, prepared by the Law Ministry with the consent of the community was passed by Parliament in 2001.19

The Christians take the Indian Constitution for granted to provide, protect and safeguard the fundamental rights of every citizen and every minority, including the Christians. However, the relevance and effectiveness of the safeguards are eroding fast, due to large scale saffronisation of the education system, the handiwork of the Sangh Parivar, to enforce its political ideology. These changes are bold enough to dream of saffronisation of all minority communities as well. Some organisations of the Sangh Parivar are so eager to threaten the very existence of the minority communities that they are moving in an extremely disruptive direction. These moves, sooner or later, will jeopardise the fundamental rights of the minority communities. The political thinking of the communal forces is moving towards the formation of a theocratic state, in which the goal and religion of the Sangh Parivar becomes the supreme force. This is creating a situation wherein the minority communities, especially the poor and downtrodden Dalit Christians, are feeling helpless. Minority and majority feelings still exist in the country even after 59 years of our freedom and every secular, democratic Indian citizen is bound to be appalled by such a development. The country’s identity and dignity are getting increasingly obscured. The apathy of the administration, the violation of minorities’ rights, the Presidential Order of 1950 and the Mandal Commission report have all cumulatively led to the evolution of an extremely helpless and frustrating situation for the minority community of Christians. The Christians just want a fair system to fulfil their basic needs and a chance to live an honourable life which can only be provided by the institutionalisation of minority rights in general and those of the Christian minority in particular for long ignored by the powers that be. n

References

1. See Editorial, “BJP Vs Dalit Christians”, Indian Currents: A Voice for Voiceless, Vol. VII, No.49, September 12, 1996, p. 2. 2. Massey, James, Minorities in Democracy (1999), Manohar Publishers, New Delhi, pp. 72-73. 3. See Editorial, “Well Done, Mr President”, in The Tribune, March 29, 1996, Chandigarh. 4. Sarto, Esteves (1996), Nationalism, Secularism and Communalism, South Asia Publications, Delhi, p. 190. 5. Ibid., p. 190. 6. See article John, T.K. (1999), “Minority Rights: Christian Experience and Apprehensions” in Sumanta Banjerjee (ed.), Shrinking Space: Minority Rights in South Asia, published by South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Lalitpur (Nepal), p. 178. 7. John T.K., op.cit., p. 177 and also see The Hindustan Times, July 22, 1998, New Delhi. 8. See Nirmalendu Bikash Rak****, (2000) “Right to Propaganda Religion: Constitutional Provisions”, in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XXXV, No. 40, New Delhi, p. 3565. 9. Ibid., p. 3565. 10. Indian Currents: A Voice for Voiceless, Vol. XI, No. 49, December 13-19, 1999, p. 15. 11. See The Hindu, January 19, 2001, New Delhi. 12. John, T.K., op.cit., pp. 177-178. 13. Ibid., pp. 177-178. 14. See Nizami, Zafer Ahmed (1999), “Plight of Minorities in India”, in World Focus (monthly discussion journal), Vol. 20, No. 4, New Delhi. 15. Massey, James, op.cit., pp. 70-71. 16. Mathew, P.D., and Bakshi, P.M. (1995), Christian Law of Divorce, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, pp. 3-4. 17. Ibid., pp. 3-4. 18. Dayal, John (October 2000), “Wedlock Deadlock”, see in Indian Currents: A Voice for Voiceless, Vol. XII, No. 19, pp. 9-11. 19. Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) (October 2000), New Brilliant Christian Personal Laws, published by CISRS, Bangalore, pp. 1-12.



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Give minority benefits to Jains: Panel to UP govtExpress news serviceTags : Uttar Pradesh, JainsPosted: Mon Oct 26 2009, 03:59 hrs

The Uttar Pradesh State Minorities Commission (UPSMC) has recommended to the state government to include the Jain community in the minority list and ensure all benefits that are given to other minority communities, including admissions in educational institutions. The commission made these recommendations following central government directives of giving minority status to the Jain community.

 

 

The commission has asked the state government to ensure that members of the community are issued certificates and given all benefits as other minorities in the state. Secretary of the commission Mohammad Akram said, “Since the Union Government has already given the minority status to Jains and even the state has agreed to it, we have recommended that the state should now instruct the Department of Minorities Welfare and the state Minorities Welfare Finance Corporation to include Jains in their beneficiary list.”

 

 



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NATIONAL MINORITY STATUS FOR JAIN COMMUNITY IN INDIA

11 JULY 2008

By  BAL PATIL Delhi state has already declared minority status for the Jain community thanks to the persistent efforts of my colleague and President of the all India Jain Minority forum, Mr.Chakresh Jain, President, Jain Samaj, Delhi I do not think there is any legal or constitutional problem.

The real issue now is declaration of national minority status for the Jain religious community in India.  I have attached a document giving the Jain population figures according to the 2001 Census.  Jains have been declared a minority in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttaranchala and Jharkhand States . The total population of the Jain minority declared minority thus comes to  3,678, 551. The total Jain population in India is 4,225, 053. Thus the percentage of the Jain minority population comes to 88%.  But being more than 50% to constitute a minority population in the whole of India is no longer taken into account. The government is hoist with its own petard.

But the irony is that inspite of being declared minority in these States the Jain  minority community is still treated as not eligible to the sumptuous Scholarships announced by the Prime Minister and the Minority Affairs Minister for Pre and Post-Matriculation students because Jains are not a National Minority !!  This is a matter of blatant discrimination. I have already drawn the attention of the Minority Affairs Minister, Shri Antulaysaheb and said that I shall be constrained to file a writ petition on this issue.

As to how the State Governments are indifferent to the Minority welfare is pinpointed by the fact that the Maharashtra State Minority Commission  was reconstituted on 4th August 2006 with only  the appointment of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman  the rest of the Members are still not  appointed.

The question is : Are all the benefits only meant for the national minorities so-called? I do not mean any disrespect to the national minorities so designated under the National Minorities Commission act. But I am constrained to take a strong exception to the blatantly discriminatory manner in which the Jains declared as a minority in various States such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West Bengal, Uttaranchala, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Rajasthan comprising  88% of the total Jain population in India because the Jain minority students in these States are specifically excluded from the benefit of the Pre and Post-Matriculation Scholarships announced under the New Prime Minister’s 15-Point Plan in co-operation with similar State Government packages.

I refer to the  Maharashtra Government General Administration Dept. Resolution No. R.A.A. 2003/1216/P No.114/03/05, Mantralaya, Mumbai-400032, 7-5-2004  I think the wording very clearly states that the State is making this Nortification in accordance with the Jain community demand for declaration as a minority “like the five minority communities so declared by the Central government according to the NCM Act.” The context unmistakeably points to the parity in minority community status of the Jains with the other minority communities.

I also refer to a Sakal   Marathi daily Ad offering Cenrtral Govt Scholarships for Post-Matriculation students only to national minorities which is a matter of blatant discrimination since this is for the benefit of State minorities in which the Jains  also happen to be a minority.

STATUS OF JAIN COMMUNITY

The Minority Affairs Minister, Shri A.R. Antulay has stated  on May 7, 2007   replying to an Unstarred Question in Rajya Sabha that the National Commission for Minorities(NCM) had recommended that, as a separate religion, Jains deserve to be notified as a minority community. However, in its Annual Report for 1997-98, the NCM stated that the demand of Jains for minority status is one view point prevailing in the community and recommended that the Government must through its own resources ascertain the broad consensus on this issue keeping in view all dissenting voices.

The Minister stated that as per Census 2001, the total population of Jains is 4,225,053, which is 0.4% of the total population of the country. The Jain community is spread through out India except in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.

Shri Antulay further informed that a Civil appeal was filed by Bal Patil & Another seeking issuance of a direction to the government to notify Jains as a minority community. In accordance with the recommendation of the Standing committee on Social Justice & empowerment, Government has examined the implications of the judgment in this case and is proposing official amendments to the constitution (One Hundred and Third amendment) Bill, 2004.)

When I pointed out to Shri Syed Shahabuddin, Ex-MP, Editor, Muslim India the apparent inconsistency and contradiction in the Shri Antulay’s response to a question in Rajya Sabha that the National Minority Commission “However, in its Annual Report for 1997-98, the NCM stated that the demand of Jains for minority status is one view point prevailing in the community and recommended that the Government must through its own resources ascertain the broad consensus on this issue keeping in view all dissenting voices.”   he asked me to write a letter to the Minister under copy to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha whether his response was not misleading the House on the the minority status of the Jain community because it brought in the issue of “consensus”  which is quite irrelevant to the issue of determination of minority status and such was not the criterion when the National Minorities so-called were declared.

The facts are: Statistics about the Jain Community are published in the Census of India 2001 under the heading THE FIRST REPORT ON RELIGION DATA. There are only 4,225,053 Jains in the total population of India of 1.028 billion. It means that there is one Jain among 243 Indians. Though so less in the numbers, Jains are to be found in 34 out of 35 states and union territories. The only union territory without Jains is Lakshdweep.  Jains are counted as a major religious community ever since the first Census in India in 1873.

States having more than 0.1 million Jains are only seven and they are:-

State            Jain Population

1      Maharashtra            1,301,842      Jain Minority State

2      Rajasthan                   650,493       Jain Minority State

3      Madhya Pradesh       545,448       Jain Minority State

4      Karnataka                412,654         Jain Minority State

5      Uttar Pradesh           207,111        Jain Minority State

6      Delhi                         155,122         Jain Minority State

7      West Bengal              55,223         Jain Minority State

8      Uttaranchala               9,249         Jain Minority State

9      Jharkhand                 16,103         Jain Minority State

Total Jain population Indian according to 2001 Census:  4,225,053

Jain Minority States Population  :                                        3,678,551

Percentage of Jain population in Indian accorded

minority status:                                                                      88%

Gujarat is the only State having a sizeable Jain population of  525,305 not declared minority status. but the curious  fact is that the very section of the Shwetambar Sect Jains who form the majority of the Jains in Gujarat State have seured minority status for their educational institutions e.g Tapovan Trust of Surat.  The following is the facsimile of the minority educational certificate.  (Attached)  And yet the Jains in Gujarat State forming a sizeable population continue to oppose the minority status which gives an excuse to the Government of India and the National Minority Commission that there is no consensus among the Jain community!!

I would like to quote here my correspondence with Mr.Pratapbhai Bhogilalji  which brings out the doublethink in the attitude towards the Jain minority status in the Gujarat State:

BAL PATIL’S E-MAIL CORRESPONDENCE WITH SHRI PRATAPBHAI BHOGILAL ON  MINORITY STATUS OBTAINED BY TAPOVAN TRUST IN AHMEDABAD AND SURAT

June 15, 2006

Respected Shri Pratapbhai Bhogilalji,

I refer to our telephonic talk about the Tapovan Trust in Ahmedabad and Surat which is running educational institutions. I learn that the source of inspiration for its educational mission is Shri Chandrashekharji Maharaj. According to informed sources the Tapovan Trust  has secured minority status for its. educational institutions.

I have also come across information about Tapovan Trust on the Website http://www.tapovan.org/ with the name “Tapovan Sanskar Pith” with its subsidiaries

Tapovan Sanskarpith at Sabarmati and Tapovan Sanskardham at Navsari inspired by Parampujya Chandrashekharvijayji. It is run by government registered Jeevan Jagruti Trust, 277, Nisha Pole, Zaveriwad, Relief Road, Ahmedabad-380 001. Phone :( 079) 535 6033. The donations are to be sent to Jeevan Jagruti Trust.

Since it is a Government registered Trust its Registration No. should be available with the Charity Commissioner’s Office, Ahmedabad. As for the minority status and recognition by the State Government an application needs to be made to the Education Dept. of the Government of Gujarat for the details of the grant of minority status to Tapovan Trust to make available the information under the Right to Information Act It is mandatory to provide such information to the public under the Act.



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Extra benefits to employee in minority institutes not discriminatory: HC

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New Delhi: Extra benefits given to employees of recognised minority educational institutions compared to non-minority aided or unaided private institutions are not discriminatory or unconstitutional, the Delhi High Court has ruled. 

The High Court, however, made it clear that in no case the terms of service, including age of retirement, should be disadvantageous to the employees of minority institutions. 

The ruling came on a petition by filed a minority-run school challenging Delhi government's stand that retirement age of the Principal of an unaided minority school should be on par with that of a government school or a private unaided or aided school recognised by it in terms of Delhi School Education Act. 

Justice Muralidhar turned down the plea of the government saying the minimum qualification for any post should not be less than that prescribed for other schools. However, the state cannot have any say on what should be the terms and conditions of the service. 

"The age of retirement of a Principal of an unaided minority institution, being a term of service, cannot be more disadvantageous than that of the Principal of a non-minority or aided or unaided private institution. But the converse is not true. 

"If the age of retirement of the Principal of a unaided minority institution is more advantageous, it will not be held to be discriminatory or unconstitutional," the court said. 

Elaborating on the law on the issue, the court said rules governing the retirement age of the Principal or the Vice Principal will not be applicable in the case of an unaided minority school. 

"While the State has every right to prescribe conditions for granting recognition or disbursing aid, it cannot under the guise of that power prescribe onerous conditions compelling minority institutions to surrender their rights of administration to the government," the court said. 

It said minority educational institutions enjoy the fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution and Delhi government cannot insist that the retirement age of the Principal of such institutions can be no different from that of a Principal of a government school or a private recognised unaided or aided school. 

"The stand of the Delhi government that the Delhi School Education (DSE) Rules also governs the retirement age of the Principal of a recognised unaided minority institution is untenable in law. The result is that the Rule 110 of the DSE Rules does not have any application to the schools run by the minority," the court said. 

-PTI


-- Edited by devapriyaji on Monday 13th of September 2010 12:13:26 PM

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பாதிரியாராகலாம். சட்டப்படி இந்து உமாசங்கர்


large_84647.jpgதிருநெல்வேலி : “”சட்டப்படி நான் இந்துதான். என் வழிபாட்டு உரிமையில் அரசாங்கம் தலையிட முடியாது,” என ஐ.ஏ.எஸ்., அதிகாரி உமாசங்கர் தெரிவித்தார்.

15_09_2010_007_010-uma.jpg?w=140&h=300சஸ்பெண்ட் செய்யப்பட்டு தற்போது டான்சி நிறுவன நிர்வாக இயக்குனராக பணியமர்த்தப்பட்டுள்ள உமாசங்கர் நேற்று நெல்லை வந்தார். பாளையங்கோட்டையில் மத்திய, மாநில எஸ்.சி., – எஸ்.டி., ஊழியர் சங்கம் ஏற்பாடு செய்திருந்த பாராட்டு விழாவில் பங்கேற்றார்.

அவர் நிருபர்களிடம் கூறியதாவது: எனக்காக குரல் கொடுத்த அ.தி.மு.க., – ம.தி.மு.க., – தே.மு.தி.க., – பா.ம.க., – காங்., கட்சியை சேர்ந்த இளங்கோவன், கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சிகள் உள்ளிட்ட அனைவருக்கும் நன்றி . நான் சஸ்பெண்ட் செய்யப்பட்டபோது, இந்த சங்கம் எனக்காக குரல் கொடுக்கவில்லை. சுடுகாட்டு கூரை ஊழலை வெளிக்கொணர்ந்ததற்காக அ.தி.மு.க., அரசு என்னை தி.மு.க.,காரன் போல பார்த்து ஒதுக்கிவைத்தது. அண்மையில், அரசு கேபிள் “டிவி’ நிறுவனத்தில் ஏற்பட்டுள்ள முறைகேடுகளை சுட்டிக்காட்டினேன். என் மீது நடவடிக்கை பாய்ந்தது. நான் எந்த அரசியல் கட்சியை சார்ந்தவனும் அல்ல. தமிழக அரசு கேபிள் “டிவி’யில் நடந்த முறைகேடுகள் குறித்து முழுமையான விவரங்களை அரசின் எஸ்.சி., – எஸ்.டி., கமிஷனுக்கு புகார் மனுவாக அனுப்பியுள்ளேன்.

நான் இப்போதும் சட்டப்படி இந்துதான். கடந்த இரண்டு ஆண்டுகளாக கிறிஸ்தவ ஆலயத்திற்கு சென்று வருகிறேன். தாழ்த்தப்பட்ட ஒருவர் எந்த கோவிலுக்கு செல்கிறார், எந்த சாமியை கும்பிடுகிறார் என்றெல்லாம் வருவாய்த்துறையினர் தோண்டித் துருவி பார்க்க சட்டத்தில் இடம் இல்லை. தலித்கள், கிறிஸ்தவ பாதிரியாராக கூட மாறலாம். ஆனால், சர்டிபிகேட்படி இந்துவாக இருக்கவேண்டும் அவ்வளவுதான். லஞ்சஒழிப்பு துறை ஆணையத்தின் கையேட்டில் அரசியல்வாதிகள், அதிகாரிகள் ஊழல்கள் புரிந்தால் அவர்களுக்கு சாதகமான அம்சங்கள் உள்ளன. இதை நான் எதிர்த்து கோர்ட்டில் வழக்கு தொடர்ந்தேன். அதில் இருந்து ஐந்தாவது நாளில் சஸ்பெண்ட் செய்யப்பட்டேன். நான் குறிப்பிட்ட எந்த அமைப்பையும் சாராமல் தமிழக மக்களுக்காக பணியாற்றுவேன். அவசியம் ஏற்பட்டால் எதிர்க்கட்சி தலைவர் ஜெயலலிதாவை சந்திப்பேன். அது என் உரிமை. இவ்வாறு உமாசங்கர் பேசினார்.



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Minority Rights
with special reference to Christian missionaries in India

Written By : Varun Shivhare, II Year, National Law Institute University (NLIU), Bhopal


Rights of Christian Missionaries to Establish and Administer Educational Institutions
It is well known that the standard of Christian missionary educational institutions was by and large higher than the level of other institutions. Thanks to the dedication of Christian missionaries, aided generously by the British rulers, the education as well as literacy average of Christians is also higher than that of Hindus.

The facile assumption in St. Stephen's College v. University of Delhi, made in the context of preference to the Christians in the matter of admission to a Christian institution that minorities are "underprivileged" communities and that the principle underlying article 16(4) is attracted in the matter is with due respect, not based on any factual survey. The only circumstance cited in support of this conclusion was that if admission were to be strictly on merit, not even ten percent seats were secured by Christians in the total population of the country is much less, this can hardly be a matter of alarm. Thus, the protected minorities are not required to confine admission to their institutions to member of their minority community in order to earn constitutional protection. Often, in minority institutions, the student belonging to the majority far out numbered those belonging to the minority concerned. It cannot therefore be said that it was proposed through article 30 to raise the educational standard of the minorities in order to make them equal to others.

In Sidhajbai v. State of Gujarat , unanimous decisions of a six judge Constitution Bench. The petitioners were again Christian missionaries who were running numerous primary schools and also a training college for teachers which fed those schools. The state government ordered that 80 percent of the seats in that training college should be reserved for teachers deputed by the government. The management were also directed to provide hostel accommodation for them. Direction regarding observance of holidays were also issued. On refusal of the management its grant were stopped. This was challenged by the management, Shah J. speaking for the court, expressed the tentative view that under article 26(a) every religious denomination had a right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes, "and in a larger sense an educational institution may be regarded as charitable". The learned judges added that it was not necessary to decide this question as article 30(1) itself was squarely attracted. There was hardly any need for hesitation in expressing this view in basing this decision. As pointed out by Seervai:

In India as in England the advancement of education is also recognized head of charity; therefore educational institutional would be covered by the words 'charitable institutions' in article 26(a).

Though the objective of training of teachers of schools of local bodies may be in the public interest, the same could not be permitted to be achieved at the cost of the institutions. The regulations, which may lawfully be imposed as a condition of receiving grant or recognition, it was held, "must satisfy a dual test, the test of reasonableness and that it is regulative of the educational character of the institution and is conductive to making the institution an effective vehicle of education for the minority community or other persons who resort to it".

In Rev. Father W. Proost v. State of Bihar , the petitioners were a Christian mission who were running St. Xavier's College Ranchi. They complained against a new Act under which a University Service Commission was established. Every appointment, dismissal, removal, termination of service or reduction in rank of a teacher of an affiliated college was required to be made by a governing body of the college on the recommendations of this Commission and subject to the approval of the university. The Constitution Bench, speaking through Hidayatullah C.J., held, following the earlier decision noted above, that this provision is destructive of the right of the management. The institution was held entitled to the protection of an exemption clause under which, in case of minority institution only, 'approval' of the Commission and the university was required and not 'recommendation' of the Commission. In other words, recruitment was to be made by the institution itself and not by the Commission for it. The provision requiring 'approval' was apparently not challenged.

A nine Judge Bench of the Supreme Court exhaustively considered the extent and scope of Article 30(1) in Ahmedabad St. Xavier's College Society v. State of Gujarat . The Society of Jesus, the petitioners, was running the St. Xavier's College at Ahmedabad with the objective of providing higher education to Christian students. However, children of all classes and creeds were admitted to the college. The college was affiliated college under the Gujarat University Act, 1949. The petitioners challenged sections 33-A, 40, 41, 51-A and 52-A of the Gujarat University Act, 1972 which provided for university nominees in the governing and selection bodies of all colleges, conversion of all affiliated colleges to constituent colleges, approval of Vice Chancellor for disciplinary action against members of teaching staff, and reference of dispute between the staff and management to arbitration in which the umpire has to be Vice Chancellor's nominee. The court held, that these provisions could not be applied to the minorities; the Court held that these provisions could not be applied to minority colleges. The Court also emphasized that the right conferred to the religious and linguistic minorities to administer educational institutions of there is not an absolute right. The right is not free from regulation. Just as regulatory measures are necessary for maintaining the educational character and content of minority institutions, similarly regulatory measures are necessary for ensuring orderly, efficient and sound administration. In the leading judgment Ray C.J. observed:

Permissible regulatory measures are those, whose which do not restrict the right of administration but facilitate it and ensure better and more effective exercise of the right for the benefit of the institution and through the instrumentality of management of the educational institution and without displacing the management.

In All Saints High School v. Government of A.P. Fazal Ali, J. summarized three important tests which would determine whether or not the action of government amounts to interference with the management of the institution; (1) In order that the management of the institution is free from outside control, the founder must be permitted to mould the institution as they think fit. (2) No part of the management could be taken by the government and vested in another body without an encroachment upon the guaranteed right enshrines in article 30(1) of the Constitution; (3) There is however, an exception to this general rule which is that the government or the university can adopt regulatory measures in order to improve the educational standards which concern the body politic and the dictated by the consideration of the advancement of country and its people, so that the minority institution may not under the guise of autonomy or exclusive right of management be allowed to fall below the standard of excellence that is required of educational institution.

St. Stephen's Case a Wrong Assumption of Backwardness
The minority institutions have however lost several battles against their teachers. The Frank Anthony ruling in regard to the director approval for an order of suspension was unsuccessfully assailed as contrary to lily Kurian in Y. Tehclamma V. union of India All Bihaer Christian Schools Association State of Bihar Manohar Haries Walters V. Basel Mission Higher education Center K.N. Singh J. n the Bihar Christian Schools case has indeed been at pains to stretch the regulatory power of the state to their maximum in the process distinguishing all previous decisions seeming to decide the contrary. On the other hand the constitution Bench (headed by Kania J. as he then was and speaking through Shetty J. with Kasliwal J. dissenting) has in St. Stephen's College v. University of Delhi bent over backwards in conceding the claim of the two government aided Christian institution to make admission according to their sweet will, (specially on the basis of 100 per cent interview mark form out of candidate selected preliminarily on the basis of their secondary school marks the number interviewed being about five times the number of seats) in total disregard of the norms fixed by the university and giving preference to students of their own community.

The court placed a limit of fifty per cent on reservation of seats for them applying in the process decisions under article 16(4) by a process of reasoning which with the utmost respect is rather confusing mixing up unrelated concept they sidetracked article 29(2) and distinguished earlier decision on the subject such as D.A.V. college and Kerala Bill cases relating to reservation in favor of backward classes of citizens were relied on and the minorities were assumed to be the underprivileged Emphasis was placed on the minorities rights in their own educational institution ands following Mathew J. In St. Xavier the parents right to have their children educated in intuitions having an atmosphere congenial to their own religion preference to Christians in admission was defended das being not solely on the basis of religion but to prefer their community candidates in their educational institutions a rather baffling distinction which could be made only by a court which must be right because it is final.

The Supreme court has further conceded to minority managements the power to give indirect preference to candidates of their community in appointments of the posts principal and vice principles by requiring that the candidates should fulfill over and above the qualifications laid down by the university or a Board some additional lingual qualification and there by excluding other candidates from the field of choice in Virendra Nath Gupta V. Delhi Administration it was so decided in favor of a linguistic (Malayalam) minority institution and in the Karamat Girls college of Lucknow case the same principle was applied even in the case of a secular education institution run by a religious minority (Muslim) which prescribed Urdu as an additional qualification for the post of principle. The latter case assumes without any discussion that minority instructions do have such a right.

One Minority Opposing Another School
In Mark Notto V. State of Kerala the Christian community was running a boys school It. was denied permission to admit girls to the school on the ground that there was already a girls school run by the Muslim community in the neighborhood. The Muslims also objected to a coeducational institution. The grounds for refusal of permission were held unsound and the refusal of permission was held volatile of the Christians right under articles 30 (I). The Christian community has a right to have schools of their choice for teaching their girls if they did not think it in their interest to send them to the Muslim girls school. The rule under which the permission had been denied was held inapplicable to minority schools. It was not considered necessary to strike down the rule in its application to all.

Classification should be Rational not Communal
The state or courts have no right that every institution of a majority community is run by crooks or imbeciles and that all such institutions can be properly administered only through state authorities. It is true that much management are corrupt and effective measures must be taken to ensure that they are not allowed to misappropriate or dissipate the assists for the institutions or to indulge in nepotism or discrimination in the matter of appointment f teachers admission of student etc. But complaints are not confined to managements of majorities institutions only. Excepting very few select old Christian missionary institutions like St. Stephens Loreto etc. most minority institutions also (including even Christian intuitions) are not immune from similar complaints including very often complaints form teacher parent sand other member of their own community. Conversely there may be excellently managed institutions established by members of majority community also say those by the Ramkrishan Mission Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan Birla Education Trust etc. So whatever regulation and control be needed it should be objectively decided in relation to each individual case and not on covertly communal (whether based on religion or language) ground any classification should thus be primarily on the bases rationally suggested by Dwivedi J. and secondarily on the basis of ratings ( as in the case of say debentures or hotel etc.) with reference to availability of facilities past performance reputation credibility standard of teacher infrastructure judge by a high powered autonomous body not on the ground of its being established by a minority or the majority.

Conclusion
This project throws light on the rights given to the minorities in the Constitution of India. The analysis of diverse judgment can be categorized under the following heads:
1. The linguistic approach: this approach tries to construe the word "administer" so as to confine it to good administration. The right to administration does not include the right to maladministration an institution. This approach can be found in the judgment of the S.R. Das, C.J. in Kerela Education Bill .
2. The approach of autonomy: according to this approach, so long ass the autonomy of this institution is preserved, regulation of its working is permissible. The exposition by Khanna J. in St. Xaviers is not an outstanding example of this approach, because though it can be discerned in earlier pronouncement he has elaborate in the ample measure.
3. The moral approach: it has been stated that if the minorities asserts a right of administration, it is their duty to provide good administration.
4. The constitutional-cum-linguistic approach: according to this approach, what the constitution in article 13 prohibits is a law, which "abridges" a fundamental right. Regulatory measures do not abridge the fundamental rights guaranteed by article 30 and are therefore not hit by article 13. This approach was enunciated by Mathew J. in St. Xavier's,
5. The logical approach: legislative measures that do not directly impinge upon minority rights are permissible, not withstanding that their indirect impact may be adverse to those rights. The primary object is not interference with a fundamental right, than the fact that the secondary impact of the challenged law may be to impair a fundamental right, is immaterial. Mathew J. in St. Xavier's also suggests this approach..

This project also throws light on the right of the minority to establish and administer educational institutions. Taking the power of J. Khanna enclosed by Krishna Iyer J. any privileged or pampered section of the population It only want to ensure that minority are not discriminated against welcome. For bringing this regionalism communalisms and linguist have to be discouraged for preservation of the unit and integrity of India every citizen should be made to feel that he is Indian first irrespective of other basis. In this view any measure at bringing about equality should be welcome.

Under eye of law majority or minority both should be treated equally and any citizen is Indian first and then belongs to any particular community. Thus, grievance of the majority can be redressed either by (i) extending the protection available under article 30 to cover all religions, whether they be minority religions or majority religions or (ii) by removing article 30 from the constitution and inserting 'educational' in article 26(a), which would place al religion at par.

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Minority Rights in India: Christian Experiences and Apprehensions
Emanual Nahar
Minority rights have gained greater visibility and relevance all over the world. India is no exception to it being a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-linguistic and multi-cultural society. Diversity of all types is the very soul of India. It is in this context that minority rights have assumed added significance in post-independence India. When India attained independence after its division on religious lines, religious minorities became very apprehensive of their identity. According to a survey (2001) at that time there were 11.67 per cent Muslims, 2.32 per cent Christians, 1.79 per cent Sikhs and considerable number of Buddhists (0.77 per cent), Parsees (0.4 per cent) and Jains (0.43 per cent) in India.

After World War II, the world’s minorities locked within the state have increased rather than decreased in numbers. So far as India’s case is concerned, the trajectory reveals that India has almost always had a composite population. The Constitution of free India has give recognition to a number of languages in the Eighth Schedule and there are five religious groups which have been given the official status of National Minorities, namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsees. The framers of the Constitution bestowed considerable thought and attention upon the minority problem in all its facets and provided constitutional safeguards; yet the issue has evaded solution till today. Consequently, the progress of minorities in India is beset with problems including those of prejudice and discrimination.

Even the dominant Muslim community has several grievances. It is perceived by many that they lag behind in educational progress because of economic hardship and discrimination against them in the education field. No special efforts have been made to fulfil the needs of Muslims which belong to the lower strata of society. The grievances of the Sikhs in India are largely political with subdued economic overtones. The grievances of all religious minorities seem to be related to the operation of state agencies. Questions about problems between the majority and minorities that arise are:

• What status has the polity granted to its minorities?

• What are the problems faced by the minorities especially in the context of inclusion and exclusion in state- building in post-colonial India?

• How are they able to assert themselves?

• What is the role and extent of their participation in politics and socio-economic developments?

• What is the extent of prejudice and discrimination faced by them?

Today minority rights have introduced two new dimensions into democracy. First, they made community a legitimate subject of political discourse; and second, they placed the issue of inter-group equality on the agenda. The Indian experience also reveals that minority rights present two important problems for a democratic polity. One, minority rights privilege the community’s cultural practices over the principle of equal rights for all citizens. Two, recognised minorities are not always sensitive to the plight of internal minorities. Thus, while special safeguards provided to identified minorities curb the hegemony of any one community or the nation-state, they do not guarantee free and equal status to all groups and communities in society.

II

The principle of non-discrimination and the concept of common citizenship are enshrined in all provisions of the Indian Constitution. The first and foremost is the Right to Equality (Article 14) which is an extension of the rights ensured in the Preamble to the Constitution. Article 14 of our Constitution says:

The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law and shall provide equal protection for every person within the territory of India.

Though this Article appears to be very short and simple, it is one of the greatest pillars of democracy. It protects both minority and majority alike against the discriminatory conduct of the government both negatively and positively. This provision embodies a concept which is a hall-mark of democracy. However, to the question as to whether the Indian minorities really enjoy this fundamental right to equality, the answer, unfortunately, is ‘no’. Because in the real sense, Indian minorities do not fully enjoy some of the basic fundamental rights. The major problems faced by the Christian minority with regard to fundamental rights are as given below.

The discrimination on grounds of religion is very clearly prohibited by Article 15 of our Constitution which says in clause (1): “The state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth etc.” This fundamental right against discrimination on ground of religion is one of the most important rights for the flourishing of any religiously pluralistic society as we have in our country.1 But unfortunately, we are till now unable to implement what Article 15 last down. This mandate of “non-discrimination against any person on grounds of religion” given in Article 15 of the Constitution has still not been enforced totally, even though the Constitution was promulgated more than 58 years ago. This right, which existed, in whatever little extent, before the promulgation of the Constitution, was lost when our Constitution came into being.

The third paragraph of the Presidential Order of 1950 was amended by Parliament to extend constitutional benefits to the ‘Dalit Sikhs’ (1956) and the ‘Buddhists’ (1990) along with the ‘Hindus’, but similar benefit was refused to the Dalit Christians. The denial of justice to the Dalit Christians is also against the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India on equal justice. The Presidential Order, as it was interpreted, was not only communalistic, it was also anti-Dalit. It tended to divide the Dalits on the basis of religioin. Regarding the criteria of amendment, the point made by Ramvilas Paswan in 1990 needs to be noted. Paswan, who was the then Union Minister of Welfare and Labour, while stating the objects and reasons for proposing to include Buddhists of Scheduled Caste origin in the list of Scheduled Castes, said that the change of religion does not alter social and economic conditions. But above all, the third paragraph of the 1950 Presidential Order is a direct contradiction of Articles 14, 15 and 25 of our Constitution since it had used religion as the criterion to describe who will be a Scheduled Caste. This needs to be deleted completely.2

In India the opportunities for employment are very scanty and the state is the greatest employer. The principle of non-discrimination and equality is also upheld in matters of public employment in the Constitution. Article 16 says: “No citizen shall, on grounds of religion, race or caste, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.”

The Constitution in Article 16 gives equality of opportunity in matters of public employment. But again, because of the Presidential Order of 1950 and the refusal of Shanker Dayal Sharma to issue an ordinance3 for reservation for Christians during the time of P.V. Narashima Rao as the PM the Article has been made infructuous. This has been made available to the Dalits in the fold of Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism but not to those who are Christians. This also amounts to discrimination on grounds of religion which the ‘state’ is forbidden to effect under Article 15.

The denial of justice to the Dalit Christians goes against the letter and spirit of Articles 14, 15, 16 and 25 of the Constitution of India on equal justice, equal opportunities and freedom of religion. If a Scheduled Caste becomes a Christian, he loses all the reservation facilities, and if he produces a certificate of Scheduled Caste he gets back all the benefits. Even the children of the same Scheduled Caste parents, living under the same roof, sharing the same meals are discriminated against on the basis of religion. Sohan Singh gets all the reservation facilities. While his own brother Mohan Masih is denied all the benefits just because “Masih” happens to be a Christian. It is bad luck if any Christian symbol is noticed with him/her or at his/her residence. He/she loses all the service benefits. This also amounts to violation of the constitutional rights. Despite 59 years of our independence the Dalit Christians continue to be the victims of all kinds of ill-treatment. The history of independent India is both pathetic and shameful on the treatment meted out to Dalits.

The Mandal Commission’s report unambiguously stated that state assistance should be given to all genuinely backward sections of people irrespective of religion or caste which many thought would end discrimination against the poor among the minorities. But the ‘soft’ Communists or secularists or religious fanatics in the majority community are now said to have found another excuse to deprive the Christians of these facilities. The argument advanced is that the backwards having “un-Indian sounding or Anglo-Saxon” names cannot claim such benefits.4 They can afford to discriminate against Christians in this manner because they are a negligible “vote-bank”. This is the way our rulers create divisions, frictions and differences in our country.5

The other serious implication of the Presidential Order of 1950 is that it has also affected another fundamental right of the Dalit Christians, the right meant to protect their personal life as well as liberty. In the last 58 years of India’s independence, the country’s three largest minorities, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, have been targeted by fanatics of the majority community and other vested interests, on the basis of their religious identity alone, resulting in a serious assault on their basic rights, including the right to life itself. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution clearly stipulates: “No person shall be deprived of his right of personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” The fact that the Dalit Christians are not getting protection of life and personal liberty is manifest in the various government Acts and rules passed by Parliament to give special protection to the Scheduled Castes but these are not applicable to the Christians of Scheduled Caste origin during atrocities. These Acts and rules include Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955, Protection of Civil Rights Rule 1977 and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989. All these Acts and rules are supposed to give the SC (Dalits) special protection and rights against various kinds of atrocities and oppressions meted out to them by the people of so-called upper castes of forward classes. But this protection is not made available to Dalit Christians.

Although under Article 21, the State is bound to protect the life and liberty of every human being, it has failed to protect this right. There are a lot of violations. Such type of violations threatens the very right to life, physical integrity and health of citizens. Here are some of the headlines in the national media: “Persecution—Christians are now being systematically targeted”. It referred to the recent move of the then BJP run Delhi Government to denotify churches in Delhi as places of worship on the ground that “wine was served there”. “Saffron Brigade strikes again in Gujarat”. “Christian missionary school attacked, copy of New Testament burnt”—flashed Hindustan Times on July 22, 1998.6

Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives all citizens the “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion”. The Christians have almost always faced problems with this fundamental right specially with the last part of propagating its faith. A number of States such as Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have passed Acts through their legislature severely curbing this right. In many States like Punjab, the concerned authorities refused to allow any venue and date for religious conversions or religious conventions for preaching the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is undoubtedly a violation of Article 25. Father T.K. John also expressed the feeling that the basic rights of the religious minorities are violated in a number of ways.7

(a) Although some Indian State governments did enact legislations entitled ‘Freedom of Religion Bill’, these were full of ambiguities which were utilised by the state machinery to practise discrimination against religious minorities.

(b) Refusal to grant official recognition to certain religious groups and religious communities.

© Legal bias against certain religious groups and religious communities.

(d) Restriction on public information about religious groups by describing only a preferred religion in official text books and ignoring the others. In Gujarat, the State’s BJP Government is also trying to impose some limitation on freedom of conscience and free profession of religion.

Although Article 25 of the Indian Constitution gives wide opportunity to profess, practise and propagate any religion, from time to time it has been interpreted by the various Courts of law which have imposed many limitations. As the Supreme Court held in the case of Stainless versus Madhya Pradesh (1977), the right to propagate does not mean the right to convert others forcibly. However, he/she is entitled to accept or adopt another religion by his own choice and free will.8

In recent times, some Hindu organisations have raised a hue and cry over this matter, and are in favour of adding some amendments in Article 25. As L.K. Maitra said in the Constituent Assembly,

The very foundation of society in India being religion, it will lose all her spiritual values and heritage unless the right to practise and propagate any religion is recognised as a fundamental right.

But the States were practical enough to make it a conditional right. So, when propagation affects the religious sentiments of other communities or conversion involves some sort of force or fraud, it goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.9

An attempt was made in 1977, during the regime of the Janata Government through a Private Member’s Bill at the Central level, for prohibition of conversion which, of course, could not win legilsation sanction from the majority of members. In July 2001, Anant Gangaram Geeta, a Shiv Sena MP, moved a Private Member’s Bill named the Prohibition on Religious Conversion Bill, 2001 in the Lok Sabha. The Bill was opposed by the Opposition and the Sangh Parivar failed to muster enough support for it to get it through. Besides the above, the Christian Evangelists and Church workers had to face consistent opposition to practising and propagating their faith. They were also attacked physically many a time and harassed by the fanatic groups in a number of States such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, UP, Maharashtra and Punjab. In December 1999, non-Christians organised a rally at Ahwa in Dangs district in the Gujarat State on Christmas Day projecting the alleged conversion of tribals to Christianity by the missionaries.10 In Punjab, religious conventions were disturbed at various places by the Sangh Parivar during the Akali-BJP regime. But the government did not take serious note of this problem and even refused to accept the recommendations of the National Minority Commission.

Aritcle 26 of our Constitution has given to all the religious minorities the right

• to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes,

• to manage their own affairs in matters of religion, in any manner they wish to administer and maintain such property in accordance with the law.

In Gujarat, the State Education Department issued a circular to the government aided schools to subscribe to a Gujarati magazine, Sadhana, which is wedded to the ideology of the RSS and Sangh Parivar. This is a direct violation of Article 26 of the Indian Constitution.11 The violation of Article 26 occurs when the freedom to establish religious institutions is curbed. The local administration generally refused permission to build, enlarge or renovate places of worship of the minority religious groups. This has become a major problem for the Christian community. To get permission for building a Church has become a nightmarish experience for the Christian applicants.12 The recent destruction of churches in certain parts of the country has further aggravated the threat to the right, guaranteed in the Constitution, and granted to the Christian community, along with other religious communities, to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes.13

III

Article 29 offers protection to the cultural rights of minorities and Article 30 (1) gives them the right to establish and administer educations institutions of their choice.

Clause 31(2) states that the state shall not, in granting aid to educational institutions, discriminate against any educational institution on the ground that it is under the management of a minority, whether based on religion or language.

But with regard to the rights provided on Article 29 and 30 also, the Christians continue to face problems throughout the country. (Recently the Punjab Government enacted a law and imposed a lot of limitations on minority institutions. The first major problem which the Christian educational institutions are facing is the intervention of the State Education Department and Universities at different levels. Questions are being raised whether a special place can be offered to the members of the Christian community as students or trainees. The government not only discriminates against minority schools, colleges, nursing colleges, and hospitals in granting aid, but also imposes many rules and restrictions to prevent minority institutions from appointing their own candidates. When a vacancy comes up in schools and other institutions they are forced to accept the State’s choice to fill it and on many occasions Christian educational institutions have had to go to court to get justice.

Some of the fanatic groups are not in favour of a separate and distinct culture for minorities. They want that all minorities in India must give up their separate culture as India is one country and one culture. Prof Balraj Madhok suggested that the minorities must adopt Indian (Hindu) names. In short, they must adopt the Indian culture-the national culture—in their religion. Their religion should bend its loyalty towards Indian Nationalism.14

The suggestion made by Madhok is totally against the rights guaranteed under Article 29 of the Constitution which says:

Any section of citizens, residing in the territory of India, or any part thereof, having a distinct language or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same…all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to profess, practise and propagate their religion.

In fact the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs each have their own separate and distinct culture. The above utterances negate the guarantee given by the Constitution to conserve the culture of the minorities. Such utterances have been in vogue for many decades. It is a shame that the leaders of the largest democracy with a large number of religions allow the propagation of such mindless thoughts (which clearly trample underfeet the constitutional rights) against such a minuscule section of the population as Christians.

IV

The next problem is concerning Christian Personal Law which includes15 • the Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872, • the Indian Divorce Act 1869, and • the Indian Succession Act 1925.

These Acts were enacted under British rule and reflect the British point of view. Some contents and Acts have direct relationship to the English law and the Courts. For example, Section VIII of the Indian Dvorce Act 1869 says that for anything uncovered by this Act, the Indian courts shall follow the procedure of English Courts.16 Similarly the Christian Marriage Act 1872 has, at a number of places, references to the Churches of England and Scotland.17

The Indian Succession Act 1925 also has a number of weak points like the restrictions imposed on a widow’s right to property. All these discrepancies need immediate attention of both the Indian Christians as well as the Indian Government in order to introduce suitable amendments to these Acts. The Christian law is biased in circumstances of marriage, grounds for divorce, demand for damages and equitable relief. The need for a change has been widely recognised.

The campaign for changes in the Christian Personal Law was taken up at the Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) in 1983. Through several meetings held in different places, where Bishops, clergymen, lawyers, the laity of the churches and social activists participated, it came to a unanimous conclusion that the Christian Personal Law, as enacted and administered in India, was outdated, unjust and did not fairly meet the needs of the present generation. The Indian Christian Marriage Act 1872, the Indian Divorce Act 1869 and the Indian Succession Act 1925 had several sections that were discriminatory. The first two of these Acts were enacted more than a century ago and the third one is also almost three quarters of a century old. Women suffer and are treated differently from men. There is also a need to enable Christians to adopt children whenever the need arises.

The Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) along with the Church of North India drafted a new Christian Marriage and Maintenance Bill in 1985 with help of P.M. Bakshi, the then Member of the Law Commission. The Joint Women’s Programme also requested all the Churches to send in their consensus opinion and the Christian Marriage and Matrimonial Bill 1990, the Indian Succession Amendment Bill 1990, and the Christian Adoption and Maintenance Bill 1990 were formulated. Thereafter an economic committee for changes in the Christian Personal Law was formed. This committee studied the 1992 Bill and a draft was finalised to change the existing Acts covering marriage, divorce, succession and adoption. It also drafted a Christian Adoption Law 1994. The draft of the “Christian Marriage Bill” enabled the solution of cases of divorce on the grounds of cruelty by mutual consent and did away with the compulsion of restoration of conjugal rights. The Church leadership raised its voice to bring in changes in the Bill. The Fourth Law Commission studied the matter in its own free time. Matters moved in the late nineties and James Massey, a former member of the National Commission of Minorities, played a part in the formulation of another reformist draft which was submitted to the government in 1997 to replace the existing Acts covering marriage, divorce, succession and adoption.18

In April 2000, the Law Minister invited some Church leaders and women activists to discuss his proposed Christian Marriage Bill 2000. The Christian representatives demanded that if the Law Minister kept Sections 3 and 9 the same as were in the Bill of 1994, the proposed Bill will get the consensus of all churches throughout India. They would agree for the Bill 2000 to be introduced in Parliament. This bill, prepared by the Law Ministry with the consent of the community was passed by Parliament in 2001.19

The Christians take the Indian Constitution for granted to provide, protect and safeguard the fundamental rights of every citizen and every minority, including the Christians. However, the relevance and effectiveness of the safeguards are eroding fast, due to large scale saffronisation of the education system, the handiwork of the Sangh Parivar, to enforce its political ideology. These changes are bold enough to dream of saffronisation of all minority communities as well. Some organisations of the Sangh Parivar are so eager to threaten the very existence of the minority communities that they are moving in an extremely disruptive direction. These moves, sooner or later, will jeopardise the fundamental rights of the minority communities. The political thinking of the communal forces is moving towards the formation of a theocratic state, in which the goal and religion of the Sangh Parivar becomes the supreme force. This is creating a situation wherein the minority communities, especially the poor and downtrodden Dalit Christians, are feeling helpless. Minority and majority feelings still exist in the country even after 59 years of our freedom and every secular, democratic Indian citizen is bound to be appalled by such a development. The country’s identity and dignity are getting increasingly obscured. The apathy of the administration, the violation of minorities’ rights, the Presidential Order of 1950 and the Mandal Commission report have all cumulatively led to the evolution of an extremely helpless and frustrating situation for the minority community of Christians. The Christians just want a fair system to fulfil their basic needs and a chance to live an honourable life which can only be provided by the institutionalisation of minority rights in general and those of the Christian minority in particular for long ignored by the powers that be. n

References

1. See Editorial, “BJP Vs Dalit Christians”, Indian Currents: A Voice for Voiceless, Vol. VII, No.49, September 12, 1996, p. 2. 2. Massey, James, Minorities in Democracy (1999), Manohar Publishers, New Delhi, pp. 72-73. 3. See Editorial, “Well Done, Mr President”, in The Tribune, March 29, 1996, Chandigarh. 4. Sarto, Esteves (1996), Nationalism, Secularism and Communalism, South Asia Publications, Delhi, p. 190. 5. Ibid., p. 190. 6. See article John, T.K. (1999), “Minority Rights: Christian Experience and Apprehensions” in Sumanta Banjerjee (ed.), Shrinking Space: Minority Rights in South Asia, published by South Asia Forum for Human Rights, Lalitpur (Nepal), p. 178. 7. John T.K., op.cit., p. 177 and also see The Hindustan Times, July 22, 1998, New Delhi. 8. See Nirmalendu Bikash Rak****, (2000) “Right to Propaganda Religion: Constitutional Provisions”, in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol.XXXV, No. 40, New Delhi, p. 3565. 9. Ibid., p. 3565. 10. Indian Currents: A Voice for Voiceless, Vol. XI, No. 49, December 13-19, 1999, p. 15. 11. See The Hindu, January 19, 2001, New Delhi. 12. John, T.K., op.cit., pp. 177-178. 13. Ibid., pp. 177-178. 14. See Nizami, Zafer Ahmed (1999), “Plight of Minorities in India”, in World Focus (monthly discussion journal), Vol. 20, No. 4, New Delhi. 15. Massey, James, op.cit., pp. 70-71. 16. Mathew, P.D., and Bakshi, P.M. (1995), Christian Law of Divorce, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, pp. 3-4. 17. Ibid., pp. 3-4. 18. Dayal, John (October 2000), “Wedlock Deadlock”, see in Indian Currents: A Voice for Voiceless, Vol. XII, No. 19, pp. 9-11. 19. Joint Women’s Programme (JWP) (October 2000), New Brilliant Christian Personal Laws, published by CISRS, Bangalore, pp. 1-12.

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JUSTICE SALDANA HEADS KARNATAKA UNIT OF ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL,
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Justice Saldana heads Karnataka unit of All India Christian Council, calls for proactive action in defence of minority rights and civil liberties

Justice Michael Saldhana, former judge of the Bombay and Karnataka High courts, was today installed President of the Karnataka unit of the All India Christian Council at an impressive ceremony in the city attended by senior community leaders.
Justice Saldhana is an internationally noted jurist who has large following in the civil society movements in India for his integrity, deep sympathy for the common law, and abiding faith in the rule of law as the major instrument for national integration and communal amity.

Highlighting Justice Saldhana's contribution to civil liberties in a career in law spanning over four decades, Christian councils Secretary General John Dayal said it was not just the Christian community but society at large that needed the leadership of people such as the retired judge.
Dr Dayal said minority rights had been grossly eroded with the rise in fundamentalism of the Sangh Parivar in the ten years that have passed since the murder of Australian missionary graham Stuart Staines and his sons in Orissa on 22 January 1999, and the murder amidst the carnage in August 2008 in Kandhamal district of the same state.

In his acceptance speech, Justice Saldhana said the time was to take proactive action in consolidating minority rights as well as civil liberties across the country. The Christian council, he said, would remain alert in safeguarding the rights of all citizens.
Council south India coordinator Rev Kumarswamy and National Secretary Dr Sam Paul in their speeches committed the Christian council to networking with all marginalised groups including Muslims, Dalits, Buddhists and Hindus wherever they were persecuted, or rights were eroded. The council, they said would network with all civil society groups which shared these objectives.
Amoung those who attended the function ere Transparency International's Mr B G Koshy, former director general of police FTR Colaso and Common Concern's Matilda Matthias.

Issued to the media for the favour of Publication by Rev. Kumar Swamy.

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Business of education in the name of minority rights
by SatbirSinghBedi, August 3, 2010 09:19
Business of education in the name of minority rights
RL Francis
2 August 2010

Justice Ranganath Misra Commission report has caught the attention of the entire country. It has strengthened the demand of the Church and Christian organizations to provide reservation for Dalit Christians. They are holding rallies and meetings to pressurise the Centre to implement the Misra Commission report.

The question arises whether the Church and these Christian organisations have ever thought of first giving admission to students and recruiting teachers from their own community in missionary-run schools. The fact of the matter is that the percentage of Christian students and teachers in these schools is negligible. They run the schools and educational institutions just to do business and earn profits, instead of doing service to their own community.

Interestingly, all governments at the Centre, irrespective of the political party, have tried to appease the Church and Christian organisations. The policies of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) have not been very different regarding the Church and Christian organisations.

It may be mentioned that the “National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions” had recently proclaimed its verdict that the number of students from a minority community is not a valid basis for granting or taking away recognition of a minority institution. The status of a minority institute will remain intact whatever be the number of non-minority community students in the institution. This decision is contrary to an earlier verdict of the apex court in which minority institutions were directed to fill a certain limit of total admissions by minority community students.

The UPA constituted the National Commission for Minorities Educational Institutions (NCMEI) in 2004 for the sake of convenience to minority educational institutions under the stewardship of former judge, Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui. Minority communities have freedom under Article 30 of the Constitution to establish and run their own educational institutions. Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are running a large number of minority educational institutions under the Act.

The basic objective behind giving these special rights under Article 30 of the Constitution was to promote the language, script, culture and religious education of the community. However, Indian Church and Christian Missionaries misused this right to fulfill their own agenda after independence. They often used this right as a tool for expansion. The Church has gained much by granting admissions to children of high profile politicians and bureaucrats in their 5-star convent schools.

Lots of cases against arbitrary decisions have come to the Supreme Court. The Court had said that minority educational institutions will have to take care of students of minority communities to a certain level. These institutions will be free to admit children of non-minority community but in no circumstances can they overlook the interests of students of the minority community. If a minority educational institution is found violating this order, its minority status could be withdrawn. The Court even said that if the State Governments want, they can decide a certain percentage of seats for students of the minority communities for such institutions.

Complaints of Sikh and Muslim students not getting admission in their own institutions are rare. Indeed this problem persists only with institutions run by the Church. The Church has laid a web of educational institution across the country. The influence of the Church can be ascertained from the fact that the Christian community which is merely 2.5 percent of the population has a monopoly over 22 percent of educational institutions – yet even then about 15 percent of Christian children in cities and 40 percent in rural areas are illiterate! Convent schools administered and run by the Church do not give admission to poor Christian children at all.

At a programme organised by the Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM) in the national capital region of Delhi , a Dalit Christian leader said, “The Christian educational institutions are here to serve the rich, instead of the poor Christians. Even in metros like Delhi , the number of Christian students in these institutions is negligible. The special rights entrusted by the Constitution are being used to churn money and for the expansion of the Churches.” Had the Church played its role honestly, it would not have to demand inclusion of its followers in the list of Scheduled Caste and notifying of the Ranganath Misra Commission report.

Several complaints of this nature were constantly made to the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions. Keeping this in mind, The Telegraph, Kolkata, on March 7, 2010 published an article quoting Chairman Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui, “The educational institutions run by the Indian Church should have at least 30 percent Christian students and if this is violated such institutions will loose their minority institution status.”

Echoing the same view, the Supreme Court had said in its 2005 verdict that the benefit of minority education institutions should necessarily percolate to those community students in the name of whose progress they have been established. The NCMEI Chairman said, “Educational institutions of Sikh and Muslim community are giving maximum benefit to the students of their community. Here, the problem lies with the institutions run by Christians. So the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution has ratified this proposal that those Christian educational institutions that fail to maintain minimum 30 percent Christian students will loose their minority status.”

The entire Indian Church establishment openly stood against this order of NCMEI. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), the Commission for Education and Culture, expressed serious disagreement before the Prime Minister and Education Minister against the verdict of the Commission fixing the minimum limit of minority students in church-run institutes. The CBCI said Article 30 (1) of the Constitution gave them the right to run their institutions and there was no percentage fixed to get minority status.

Since then NCMEI began looking for a way out to change its decision, and got an opportunity after a controversy between a Church-run school and the Odisha government broke out. The Odisha government had alleged that the percentage of Christian students in the school was very less and so the minority status of the school should be withdrawn. NCMEI smelt an opportunity to change its earlier decision and in a single stroke stated that no minimum percentage is required to run a minority school!!!

Human Rights activist Joseph Gathia believes that the right to run educational institutions was given keeping certain responsibilities in mind. The aim was to promote the interests of backwards and poorer sections of the community by their own community, so that they could stand with equal footing with relatively well-off communities. It will not be unconstitutional to impose some restrictions in order to stop the misuse of this privilege. Taking legal recourse on denying admissions to minority students falls in the same domain. Joseph Gathia says that if the Indian Church does not want to run these institutions for its own community, for whom does or what does it want to run these institutions?

Should the decision of NCMEI and the flimsy logic put forward by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Commission for Education and Culture before the Prime Minister – that no percentage was fixed in the constitution – be construed as a guarantee to open education institutions in every nook and corner of the country by misusing constitutional provisions for churning money? There are hundreds of convent schools like Saint Columba’s, Jesus and Mary, Mater Dei, Saint Thomas which are being run in and around Delhi under minority status. Has the government ever bothered to find out the percentage of the minority community in these educational institutions?

One example will suffice. Saint Thomas school in the national capital region has around 1500 students; the Christian students are less than 50. Similarly, in Khatauli near Delhi , there are hardly any Catholic families but there is a convent school. The question arises - if students and teachers in these schools are not Christian, then for the conservation of which religion, language and culture is the Church availing of minority rights?

Vested interest groups are exploiting loopholes in the constitutional provisions for their own expansion. The objective of the constitutional provision was to promote the legitimate interests of the minority and not to give vested interests the freedom to run commercial educational institutions in the name of minority educational institutions.

The Church and Christian organisations should introspect and evolve a road map for the betterment of poor Christians. Instead of asking the Centre to implement the Report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (Ranganath Misra Commission), the Church should first ensure adequate quota for students and teachers of its own community in missionary-run schools. Otherwise, its credibility will be further eroded.

The author is national president, Poor Christian Liberation Movement


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RESERVATION FOR MUSLIMS – SHOULD IT OR SHOULD IT NOT BE? –AsgharAli-Engineer

Posted on : 25-03-2010 | By : India Current Affairs | In : Social Issues

MUSLIM-RESER-300x214.jpgThe Congress Government in Andhra Pradesh announced reservation for Muslims in educational institutions as well as in jobs. This has been done by creating category E for Muslims, as there already exists categories A, B, C and D for “backward classes.” The reason for creating the category E for Muslims seems to be that Muslims in A.P. are extremely backward and poor. The order for reservation cited that in A.P. about 65 per cent of Muslims live below the poverty line whose annual income is less than Rs.11,000/-. It also says that 16% of Muslims in A.P. live below the double poverty line whose annual income is below Rs.4,500/-.

Large parts of Telangana were ruled by Nizam for several centuries and yet Muslims are so poor and backward precisely in that part of the state.

It is because only the poor dalits converted to Islam and not highly influential Hindus who enjoyed high status in Nizam rule. No attempt was ever made to convert them to Islam. Even in Hyderabad city, which was the Centre of Nizam rule Muslims are abysmally poor and backward. Thus the A.P. Government created category E for poor and backward Muslims to give them reservation.  . .The reservation on religious grounds by itself can be a contentious issue. It has to be debated in all its consequences. Many otherwise committed secular people also have expressed doubt on the issue. Even among Muslims there is no unanimity. It is therefore, important to discuss this issue in all its complexities. It should not be debated only in terms of pro and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

It is important to note that this issue representation of Muslims in government jobs in U.P. and Bihar had played an important role in creation of Pakistan. The upper class privileged Muslim minorities of U.P. and Bihar was quite apprehensive that they would loose their privileged positions in government jobs in united India as it would have Hindu majority and the Hindu majority would take away most important jobs leaving Muslims high and dry. This fear did play an important role in creation of Pakistan movement.

These upper caste and upper class Muslims from U.P. and Bihar migrated to Pakistan for retaining their high positions and for quick promotions. But the low caste poor Muslims had no such inspirations nor they could have got such jobs with few exceptions. These poor and illiterate Muslims who were in large numbers, therefore, remained indifferent to Pakistan movement. They had nothing to gain or loose. But today new middle class among Muslims is emerging from these backward class and low caste Muslims.

Until recently in independent India, all the benefits of parliamentary seats or government jobs have gone to the so-called ‘ashraf’ only. Mr. Ali Anwar from Bihar in his ‘Musawat ki Jang’ (Battle for Equality) has pointed out the plight of dalit Muslims in Bihar and maintains that in all these years of independence no backward caste Muslims ever got an opportunity to become M.P. or MLA though such Muslims constitute more than 90 per cent of Muslim population. Only in the recent past some M.P.s belonging to dalit Muslims have been elected M.P.s

Though theoretically there is no discrimination on such grounds in Islam but caste discriminations (as the words ‘ashraf’ and ‘ajlaf’ i.e. noble and low, point out) has always existed, and short of untouchability low caste Muslims (ajlaf) have not been equitably treated. The implementation of Mandal Commission Report in 1990 gave new hope to these dalit Muslims and a new awareness have been born among them. Many low caste Muslims like Shabbir Ansari in Maharashtra, Aijaz Ali and Ali Anwar in Bihar and others in U.P. are trying to organise them and struggling for reservations for them under Mandal Commission categories.

These Muslims point out that general reservations for Muslims on religious grounds would benefit only the so called ‘Ashraf’ Muslims and will hardly percolate down to poor dalit Muslims. These leaders would prefer reservation for Muslims only under Mandal Commission categories. This too is not an easy task. The concerned governments and backward caste commission has to take clear and bold stand.

Apart from this the important question is should there be reservation on religious ground? I think it is very complex question and would be difficult to answer in yes or no. It has to be examined from different angles. Firstly any reservation purely on religious grounds is bound to invite vigorous opposition particularly from Sangh Parivar. It would give an emotional issue to RSS and BJP looking for emotive issues after loosing power. Many secularists would also not support such a move unreservedly. Even there would be no unanimity among Muslims on this, as pointed out above.

This would also necessitate constitutional amendment as Constitution provides reservation only on caste grounds. One can of course argue that there are dalit Muslims and dalit Christians as there are Hindu dalits. And if the argument is that there is no caste system among Muslims and Christianity, one can argue it is only a scriptural view of religion and not anthropological view as in practice there are corresponding castes among Muslims and Christians too. Why not reservations for them? There is no caste system theoretically among Buddhists too yet reservations have been extended to neo-Buddhists?

The argument that extending reservations to Muslim and Christian dalits would encourage conversions to these religions is not constitutionally sound. One is free to convert under the Article 25 of the Constitution. Yet, one must realise that politically it is a volatile question. Muslims and Christians too should take politically wise decision. In this era of privatisation the government jobs are contracting. Though there is demand for reservation in private jobs it will not be easy for any government to bring private jobs within the ambit of reservation. Some positive discrimination or affirmative action may be possible but that too will take long time and will not be easy to achieve.

The best thing in the given complex situation would be a mixed bag solution. Muslims and Christians could be assured reservation under Mandal categories. Secondly, the governments, Central as well as state could make special arrangements for higher education for weaker sections of society and even create institutions to search for talents among them and ensure jobs for them. Thirdly, on patterns of affirmative action in US industries, private sector foundations could be created for education of such sections among dalit Muslims. Lastly leaders of Indian Muslims should convince well-to-do Muslims in India and abroad to donate generously from Zakat money to create educational endowments and foundations in India to establish educational institutions of good qualities for poor Muslims be they from upper castes or lower castes. There is immense potential for such endowments.

I hope the Indian Muslims will give thought to these suggestions and critically reflect on the complex question and would not try to beg for reservation pushing up communal temperature and handing on silver platter a much sought for issue to the Sangh Parivar.

Note : This is a part of the author’s article. The portion of the article which is relavent to the contemporary situation is given here.

Courtesy : Asian Human Rights Commission.



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Andhra Muslim quota law quashed again
September 15, 2010 12:40:13 PM

Omer Farooq | Hyderabad

The third consecutive attempt of the Andhra Pradesh Government to provide four per cent reservation to the socially and economically backward classes of Muslims in the State too has failed.

A seven-member bench of Andhra Pradesh High Court, headed by Chief Justice AR Dave, struck down the ‘Andhra Pradesh Reservation in Favour of Socially and Educational Backward Classes of Muslims Act 2007’ as unsustainable and unconstitutional and quashed the two GOs providing four per cent reservation to 15 backward classes of Muslims in jobs and educational institutions. The judgement was supported by five judges, while two disagreed with it.

The much awaited judgement has not only came as a huge disappointment to the Muslim community in the State but also put a question mark on the future of thousands of students who had got admission in professional colleges, including medical and engineering since 2007 under the new quota regime. It has also left worried the employees who were recruited under the quota. The five judges who took the view against the Act include Chief Justice Dave, Justice T Minakumari, Justice J Raghuram, Justice A Gopal Reddy and Justice V Ishwaraiah.

The State Government has decided to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to secure a stay order against the High Court judgement and save the careers of the students. Chief Minister K Rosaiah directed the Advocate General to initiate immediate steps to file the SLP in the apex court.

After a review meeting of the Cabinet, Minister for Information J Geeta Reddy told mediapersons that there was no question of the Congress Government going back on the issue of reservation to the backward sections of Muslim community and it will go to the Supreme Court.

While the BJP hailed the judgement saying there was no provision in the Constitution for religion-based reservation, all other political parties wanted the Government to take immediate remedial measures. Muslim political party Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen has warned that it will start Statewide agitation to force the Government to safeguard the interests of the community.

This is the third consecutive time since 2004 that the Andhra Pradesh Government’s attempt to provide reservations to the Muslim community failed the judicial scrutiny.

Earlier, the High Court had quashed the Government Order of 2004 and another Act in 2005. Interestingly, on each occasion, the Government’s decision was challenged in the court by senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader T Murlidhar Reddy.

The Muslim reservation Act, passed by the AP Assembly on July 24, 2007, was challenged in the High Court by a batch of petitioners.

Chief Justice Dave, who pronounced the judgement, said they found the Act unsustainable because the reports of the Backward Classes Commission on the basis of which the Government provided reservations was unsustainable. "Hence the GOs 230 and 231 cannot be sustained and they are quashed," he said. He said that the Backward Classes Commission report did not reflect the true condition.

Justice T Minakumari found the Act unconstitutional. She said that while the Government had every power to set up Backward Classes Commission, get its recommendation and enact law, the commission report was insufficient and it was prepared with out proper survey. She also noted that the survey was conducted only in six districts. She also held that the Act was not in conformity to the Supreme Court judgement in Indira Sawhney case.

Of the two judges who differed, Justice DS Varma said that he did not agree with the judgement and dismissed the writ petitions. He said he will give his own judgement later. Justice Prakash Rao said that while Backward Classes Commissioner had prepared the report in a hurry it cannot be set aside. Judge observed that a resurvey can be done by the commission and on the basis of its report Government can give the reservations to the Muslim community.

Advocate-General Sitaram Murthy pleaded with the bench to suspend the implementation of the judgement for ninety days but it was disallowed. But the State Government will have time of 90 days, after it gets the judgement, to file its appeal in the Supreme Court.

Reacting to the judgement, KG Kannabiran, counsel for Minister for Education Manikya Vara Prasad, said the judgement will lead to social disintegration as five judges have gone against a whole community. "This judgement is constitutionally not acceptable".

The Minister had impleaded in the case in favor of the reservations for Muslims.

On the other hand, B Ramakrishna Reddy, counsel for one of the petitioners and Murlidhar Reddy, welcomed the verdict. "The impact of this verdict is that the reservation provided on religious basis is no more valid and it cannot be offered in future also," he said.

Initially, a five-member bench of the High Court had heard the case but in view of critical issues involved the case was referred to seven-judge bench in January 2008. The bench completed its hearing of arguments in March 2009 and delivered the verdict on Monday.

The passing of the law was the third attempt by the YS Rajasekhara Reddy Government to fulfil the electoral promise of giving reservations to Muslims. His Government had first attempted to give five per cent reservation through an executive order but it was quashed by the High Court in 2005.

The same year the State Government passed an Act to give five per cent reservation but it was also struck down by a five-judge bench on various grounds, including the argument that under the Constitution there was no provision for religion-based organisations.

Later, on the basis of the report of an expert committee submitted in July 2007 to the State Government decided to give only five per cent reservation to 15 backward groups of Muslim community to avoid the legal potholes.

Meanwhile, disappointed over the verdict, hundreds of MIM workers, led by the seven legislators of the party, stormed into the State Secretariat demanding remedial measures by the Government.

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Reservations to Muslims at the cost of Hindu Tax Payers is criminal looting
By janamejayan
-Dr Togadia

New Delhi, February 8, 2010

Opposing reservations to Muslims, Dr Pravin Togadia VHP Secretary General criticized, “Andhra HC quashed Andhra Government’s unconstitutional move to give 4% quota to Muslims in Education, jobs & so on. Yet today West Bengal announced 10% reservations to Muslims. For an eye-wash WB govt has shown that these reservations would be for socially, educationally & economically backward Muslims & OBCs in Muslims. This is all twisting the constitution & exploiting the hard working Hindus. Majority Hindus from middle class, higher middle class & other working / business class work hard & pay taxes. Instead of giving benefit of this money to the poor Hindus, Hindu Scheduled castes, Hindu OBCs & Tribes, government is all out to use this money to subsidize Muslims who do not even limit number of children quoting religion. This is not only unfair to Hindus but also it is a criminal looting of Hindus.”

Dr Togadia termed the Sachhar & Rangnath Mishra reports as “Preparation for Criminal Looting of Hindus”. He further added, “Andhra 4% quota, Sachhar & Rangnath reports & now West Bengal giving 10% reservations to Muslims are not sporadic isolated incidents. They are well connected & are a part of a larger conspiracy against Hindus. This criminal conspiracy of looting Hindus is being hatched to please & appease Muslim vote bank. Today Union government also announced that youth from POK would be encouraged to come to J&K & would be given special facilities. At this moment 78% Hindu youth in Bharat are unemployed, 79% Hindu farmers have already lost their lands / crops & most are about to commit suicides, 68% Hindu children are mal nourished. Yet, instead of helping them, governments are showering favours on Muslims. This is not acceptable to Hindus.”

Dr Togadia expressed, “Hindu majority is being exploited in every field like education, employment, bank loans, trade facilities, housing & so on. From Inheritance Act to Marriage Act, all laws are only to trouble Hindus. Essential food costs have gone so high that even well to do middle class families are no more able to feed their children even a cup of milk daily & now there is Muslim reservation burden on the Hindus. Hindus have reached their limit of patience & without waiting for anyone to lead; Hindus would hit the streets any moment against this continued injustice. Muslims claim that they are no more just a simple minority; but they are ‘the second largest majority in India (as Jamait-e-ulema- e-Hind Maulana Madani says) & yet governments are bent on giving them facilities & reservations snatching education, employment, loans & lives of Hindus.”

Dr Togadia termed this move unconstitutional & expressed the concern that this would encourage not just conversions but also Jehadi incidents. He said, “Those who argue that Muslims are poor in Bharat & therefore they turn to Jehad, are living in a fool’s paradise. Pilots, Engineers, professionals from well to do families are following Jehad as a life style based on Madarsa preaching. If they are poor they do Jehad by bomb & when they get rich or educated they use planes, computers against Bharat. Therefore, it will help governments to get all Hindus to avail of education, employment, trade facilities instead of wasting Hindu Tax payer’s money on inspiring Jehad. When majority develops, the nation automatically develops. Those who do not even follow Bharat’s constitution should not be given an opportunity to misuse Bharat’s democracy & constitution for increasing their population to ‘minoratize’ Hindus.”

Dr Togadia suggested that if Muslim reservation moves continue then VHP would have to seriously look into the option of a democratic nation wide agitation soon.

____________ _________ __

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Andhra HC strikes down quota for Muslims
TNN, Feb 9, 2010, 12.33am IST
HYDERABAD: A seven-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh high court headed by chief justice A R Dave on Monday struck down as 'unsustainable' the state law providing 4% reservation in educational institutions and jobs for 15 Muslim groups deemed backward by the state government.

The bench described findings of the AP Backward Classes Commission -- on which the quota law had been based -- as 'unscientific'. Within hours of the verdict, chief minister K Rosaiah said his government would move Supreme Court in appeal and vowed to restore the 'AP Reservation in Favour of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of Muslims Act, 2007'.

In a 5-2 majority ruling, the court found that the Commission neither evolved any criteria nor published these before inviting objections. It had merely stated it had followed the two criteria evolved by the Mandal Commission for identification of (Socially Economic Backward Classes) SEBCs among non-Hindu community.

Chief Justice Dave, speaking for himself and Justices A Gopala Reddy, V Eswaraiah and G Raghuram, faulted the enactment and said it was religion-specific and potentially encouraged conversions and was thus unsustainable.

The bench found fault with the commission for its excessive reliance on data collated by the Anthropological Survey of India. That data, the court ruled, was meant for determining the profile of the Indian population and not for deciding on affirmative action for Muslims. The procedural error committed by the commission was fatal to its report and its consequent recommendation, the judges said.

"The fast track approach adopted by the commission was nothing but a non-scientific method," Justice Dave said. It was neither "legal nor sustainable", he declared.

The action of the BC Commission was also criticized for its reliance on recommendations made by P S Krishnan, a retired IAS officer deputed by the state to conduct the survey on behalf of the BC Commission. The appointment of Krishnan is 'protanto invalid', the bench said and faulted the commission for relying on his findings.

Echoing the majority view in a separate judgment, Justice Meena Kumari said the investigation by the panel was not based on real facts, data or analysis and was without proper survey. The commission limited its survey to six districts in three days, she said.

Justice Prakash Rao aired the minority view holding that the bench was not called upon to adjudicate the list but was only required to answer a legal reference. He said that the government had some data before it on which it acted and thus could not be faulted. Justice DSR Varma said he did not agree with the majority view and would give his reasons shortly. The Advocate General sought suspension of the order which was rejected by the bench.

The Andhra government has long struggled to provide quotas for Muslims, who were first given reservation in July 2004, a month after Y S Rajasekhara Reddy came to power. That 5% quota was struck down by the AP HC in Oct 2004 on the grounds it was not done on the basis of data compiled by BC welfare commissioner. The government then categorized the entire Muslim community as backward and promulgated an ordinance for quotas. But the HC struck it down again saying that the Constitution did not permit reservations on the basis of religion. The government then declared 15 Muslim groups as backward and enacted a new law that was what was struck down on Monday.

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அவசியம் ஏற்பட்டால் ஜெயலலிதாவை சந்திப்பேன்: ஐ.ஏ.எஸ். அதிகாரி உமாசங்கர் நெல்லையில் பேட்டி


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Wednesday, September 15,2010 04:51 PM, arudam said:
இவரைப்போலவே பலர் நாட்டிலே உள்ளனர் ..அதாவது உத்தியோகம் பதவி சுகத்துக்காக தலித் இந்துவாகவும் ..சுய லாபத்திற்காக குடும்ப நலம் சமூக அந்தஸ்த்திர்க்காக கிருத்தவராகவும் இரட்டைவேடம் புனைந்துள்ளனர்..இதனால் உண்மையில் ஒடுக்கப்பட்ட அப்பாவிமக்கள் மேலே வர முடியாமல் அரசு சலுகைகளை பெற முடியாமல் தவிக்கிறார்கள்..இவர்களை போன்றவர்கள் மேன்மைக்கு வந்தவுடன் மதம் மாறியவுடன் மற்றவர்களுக்கு வழிவிட வேண்டும்..அதுதான் மற்ற ஒடுக்கப்பட்டவர்களுக்கு இவர்கள் செய்யும் உதவி..இவரும் இவர் பிள்ளைகளும் சட்டப்படி ஒரு வாழ்க்கையும் சமூகபடி ஒரு வாழ்கையும் வாழ்கிறார் நியாயஸ்தன் என்ற போர்வையில் ..அதிலே சவால்வேற சட்டம் எங்களை என்னை செய்யும்ப என்று பார்ப்போம்.,..ஒடுக்கப்பட்ட மதத்தை சேர்ந்த ஒருவன் கிறித்துவனானால் அவன் பிற்படுத்தபட்டவனாவான்..இவரைபோன்றவர்கள் சட்டத்தை பகிரங்கமாக எமாற்றுவதோடல்லாமல் ..சட்டத்தையும் சமூகத்தையும் குறை சொல்லுவது தவறு..


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Wednesday, September 15,2010 03:35 PM, குமரன் said:
ஹிந்துவாக இருந்து, இட ஒதுக்கீட்டில் படித்து வாங்கிய, இவரோட I.A.S.அங்கீகாரத்தை ரத்து செய்ய வேண்டும். போய்யா, போயி, ஊழியம் பண்ணு.


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Wednesday, September 15,2010 01:26 PM, unmai said:
ஆனால் நான் வேலைக்கு சேரும் போது இந்து மதத்தில்தான் இருந்தேன். அந்த சான்றிதழின்படிதான் வேலைக்கு சேர்ந்தேன்.நீ நேர்மையான நபர் என்பதில் எந்த ஒரு மாற்றுக் கருத்தும் இல்லை,ஆனால் ஒரு ஏழை தலித்துக்கு கிடைக்க வேண்டிய பதவியை அல்லவா தட்டி பறித்து விட்டாய்.அப்படியானால் வேலைக்காக ஒரு மதம்.உங்களை போல இன்னும் எவ்வளவு பேர் இருக்கிறார்களோ.நடவடிக்கை பாய்ந்தால் தலித் பலி வாங்கபடுகிறான் என்பாய்.அம்மா கிட்ட போ நல்ல மதிப்பும் மரியாதையும் கிட்டும்.
Wednesday, September 15,2010 12:47 PM, மணிமாறன் said:
நான் பிறப்பால் ஹிந்து. எனக்கு மத துவேஷம் இல்லை . சர்ச் அல்லது மசூதிக்கு செல்வதில் எந்த தயக்கமும் என்னிடம் இல்லை. ஆனால் சலுகைக்கு ஒரு இடத்தில் பல்லிளிப்பதும், இது தான் என் மதம் என்று இன்னொரு இடத்தில் கை நனைப்பதுமாக மத விபச்சாரம் செய்தல் பாவம்.
On Wednesday, September 15,2010 04:22 PM, ர Sundararajan said :
மணிமாறன் சொல்வது சரி. அரசு வழங்கும் வசதிகளுக்காக ஹிந்துவாஹவும் மற்றபடி கிருஷ்துவனாகவும் இருப்பது தவறு. இதே மாதிரி எல்லா ஹரிஜன் கிறிஸ்தவர்களும் செய்யலாமே! இது ஒரு தவறான முன்னுதாரணம்.



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Adi Dravidar Welfare Department's order quashed

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The Madras High Court has quashed the orders of the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department allowing non-SC/ST contractors to participate in the tenders for all civil works of Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation (TAHDCO).

Justice D. Hariparanthaman gave the ruling on a petition by TAHDCO Contractors Association and K. Raghavan and 13 others challenging the letter of the Principal Secretary of the Adi Dravidar Welfare Department, scrapping an earlier order (G.O. 132) entrusting all the construction works only to contractors belonging to SC/ST.

The Principal Secretary had directed TAHDCO to finalise the tenders for all the civil works as per the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act, 1998, and Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tender Rules, 2000.

The Judge said the Additional Advocate General was not able to explain as to why the Principal Secretary issued such a letter when Managing Director of the TAHDCO had made a request for calling tenders from non-SC/ST contractors, only when SC/ST people were not available.

Justice Hariparanthaman agreed with the submission of counsel for the SC/ST contractors that merely providing employment was not the contemplation of the Constitutional scheme and SC/ST community should be economically empowered and constitutional provision in Article 46 should be given effect to.



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Villoor Dalits facing peculiar problem

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The Dalits of Villoor village under Kalligudi taluk near Thirumangalam in Madurai district are facing a peculiar problem as they are not allowed to ride two-wheelers along the street (Periasamy Koil Street) of caste Hindus.

Those who defy these norms are being attacked and ostracised by the dominant caste in the village. A few villagers and a shopkeeper on the street said that the practice had been there for a long time.

In the recent past, a Dalit youth, G. Thangapandian (24), who had completed teacher training and spent most of his time in urban living conditions, invited the wrath of caste Hindus when he rode his motorcycle through Periasamy Koil Street. The caste Hindus interrupted him and questioned his behaviour. A minor scuffle ensued and he was allegedly beaten up by a caste Hindu youth. When Thangapandian tried to file a complaint at the Villoor police station, he was prevented from doing so by caste Hindus.

Following this a peace committee meeting was called for by the caste Hindus to which Thangapandian's brother G. Murugan was invited. Fearing reprisal, he avoided the meeting and as a result, the caste Hindus laid a siege to a town bus on September 4, demanding that Dalits should come for talks.

However, the caste Hindus, with the intervention of police, later agreed for an alternative route to the Dalits, which is circuitous. The officials in the police department said that the practice of not allowing two-wheelers was age old, which had been internalised by the Dalits and nobody stopped them from riding two–wheelers but they themselves had refrained from doing so.

The Revenue Department officials, when contacted, said that the police had conducted talks with the villagers and once “they send the report we will forward it to the Special Tahsildar, Adi Dravidar Welfare, for perusal.” One of the officials said that the problem of separate routes for Dalits had already been an issue in 2000 and now it had come up again.

Two routes have been identified by the Revenue Department. Eastern Puliyampatti Vilakku is a route which has been suggested by the Dalits but the problem is that the route passes through patta lands of the caste Hindus and so it is a difficult task for the administration and the other route, the Maravapatti route, could be cleared for the use of Dalits.

The village has a major population of a dominant OBC caste and Dalits are in miniscule number. They are secluded in the eastern part of the village (Kizhakku Theru). Most of the Dalits are part of agricultural labour force and a few among them are engaged in making broomsticks during off-season.



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26_11_2010_006_011-dalit.jpg?w=440&h=510

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மதம் மாறிய தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோருக்கும் இடஒதுக்கீடு:
முழுமையாக ஆய்வு செய்ய உச்சநீதிமன்றம் முடிவு

புதுடில்லி, ஜன.23- மதம் மாறிய தாழ்த்தப் பட்டோருக்கு இடஒதுக்கீடு சலுகையை அளிப்பது குறித்த விவகாரத்தை முழுமையாக ஆய்வு செய்ய உச்சநீதிமன்றம் நேற்று முன்தினம் முடிவு செய்தது.

7-2.jpgஇந்து மதத்தில் இருந்து மதம் மாறி கிறிஸ்துவ, இஸ்லாம் போன்ற மதங்களை தழுவும் தாழ்த்தப் பட்ட, பழங்குடி இனத்தை சேர்ந்தவர்களுக்கு இடஒதுக்கீடு சலுகைகளை தொடர்ந்து வழங்குவது தொடர்பாக நீண்டகாலமாக பிரச்சினை நீடித்து வருகிறது. இந்து மதத்தில் இருந்தால் மட்டுமே அவர்களுக்கு சலுகை கிடைக்கும். மதம் மாறி விட்டால் தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோருக்கான சலுகை கிடைப்பதில்லை.

இந்த நிலையில், மதம் மாறியவர்களுக்கும் இடஒதுக்கீடு சலுகை வழங்கக்கோரி உச்சநீதி மன்றத்தில் பொதுநல வழக்கு தொடரப்பட்டது. இடஒதுக்கீட்டுக்கு ஆதரவாகவும், எதிராகவும் பல்வேறு மனுக்கள் உச்சநீதிமன்றத்தில் தாக்கல் செய்யப்பட்டுள்ளன. வழக்கை நீதிபதிகள் எஸ்.எச்.கபாடியா, கே.ஜி.ராதாகிருஷ்ணன், ஸ்வதந்தர் குமார் ஆகியோர் அடங்கிய உச்சநீதிமன்ற அமர்வு விசாரணைக்கு ஏற்றுக் கொண்டது.

கடந்த முறை வழக்கு விசாரணை நடந்தபோது, `இது மிகவும் உணர்வுபூர்வமான பிரச்சினை. முக்கியமான விஷயமும் கூட. எனவே, தேவைப் பட்டால் அதிக நீதிபதிகளை கொண்ட உச்ச நீதிமன்றத்திற்கு அமர்வுக்கு வழக்கை பரிந்துரை செய்யலாம்' என உச்சநீதிமன்றம் தெரிவித்தது. இந்த நிலையில், வழக்கு விசாரணை நேற்று மீண்டும் நடந்தது.

அப்போது, மதம் மாறியவர்களுக்கும் இட ஒதுக்கீடு சலுகையை அளிப்பது குறித்து முழுமையாக ஆய்வு செய்ய உச்சநீதிமன்றம் முடிவு செய்தது. அரசமைப்பு சட்ட ரீதியாக முக்கியத்துவம் வாய்ந்த இந்த பிரச்சினையில், ஆறு ஆண்டு கால தாமதத்துக்கு பிறகு இத்தகைய முடிவுக்கு உச்சநீதி மன்றத்திற்கு வந்துள்ளது. இந்த பிரச்சினையில் உச்சநீதிமன்றத்திற்கு உதவி செய்வதற்காக மூத்த வழக்கறிஞர் அந்தியர்ஜூனா நியமிக்கப்பட்டு இருக்கிறார்.

இந்த விவகாரம் தொடர்பான கருத்துகளை தெரிவிக்குமாறு, `தேசிய தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோர் ஆணையம்', `தேசிய மதம் மற்றும் மொழி சிறுபான்மையினர் ஆணையம்' ஆகியவற்றை உச்சநீதிமன்றம் கேட்டுக் கொண்டுள்ளது.

மேலும், வழக்கு விசாரணையை அடுத்த மாதம் (பிப்ரவரி) 24- ஆம் தேதிக்கு உச்சநீதிமன்றம் ஒத்தி வைத்தது. இது தவிர, இடஒதுக்கீடு விவகாரத்தில் சில முக்கியமான அம்சங்கள் குறித்து ஆய்வு செய்யப்பட வேண்டும் என்றும் உச்சநீதிமன்றம் தெரிவித்துள்ளது. இது தொடர்பாக, நீதிபதிகள் கூறியதாவது:-

அரசமைப்புச் சட்டம்

அரசியல் சட்ட (தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோர்) உத்தரவு 1950இன் படி இந்து, புத்தம், சீக்கியம் ஆகிய மதங்களை தவிர பிற மதங்களில் உள்ளவர்களை தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோராக கருத முடியாது என கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது. அது குறித்து போதுமான அளவில் ஆய்வு செய்யப்பட வேண்டும். இதனால், அரசியல் சட்டத்தின் 14,15,19,25 ஆகிய பிரிவுகள் மீறப்படுமா என்பதையும் பரிசீலிக்க வேண்டும்.

இந்து, புத்தம், சீக்கியம் ஆகிய மதங்களில் உள்ள தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோர் அனைவரும் இட ஒதுக்கீடு சலுகைகளை பெறும்போது மற்ற மதங்களில் உள்ள தாழ்த்தப்பட்டவர்களும் அதை பெற உரிமை உள்ளவர்களா என்பது குறித்து ஆலோசிக்க வேண்டும். அரசியல் சட்ட (தாழ்த்தப்பட்டோர்) உத்தரவு 1950- இல் இல்லாத மற்றவர்களுக்கும் செல்லுபடியாகுமா என்பதை ஆய்வு செய்ய வேண்டும். அந்த பட்டியலின்படி, 25 மாநிலங்களில் இருந்து 1,108 ஜாதிகள் பட்டியலிடப்பட்டுள்ளன.

அரசியல் சட்ட விதிகள் 16(4), 15(4) ஆகியவற்றில் கூறப்பட்டுள்ள `ஜாதி' என்பதற்கான விதிமுறை மற்றும் அர்த்தம் குறித்து ஆராய வேண்டும். எதற்காக அதை புரிந்து கொள்ள வேண்டும் என விரும்புகிறோம் என்றால், இது முக்கியமான விஷயம். இதனாலேயே, `ஜாதி' என்ற வார்த்தைக்கு முறையானதும் சரியானதுமான அர்த்தத்தை புரிந்து கொள்வது அவசியம்.

மேலும், இந்த விவகாரத்தை பொது மக்கள் மத்தியிலும் கொண்டு செல்ல நீதிமன்றம் முடிவு செய்கிறது.  அதற்காக, பொதுமக்களின் கருத்து களை தெரிவிக்க ஏற்றவகையில், உச்சநீதிமன்றத்தின் இணையதள பக்கத்தில் இந்த விவகாரம் வெளியிடப்படுகிறது.
இவ்வாறு நீதிபதிகள் தெரிவித்தனர்.




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Quota Unquote

Reservation as a welfare tool is past its sell-by-date 


Reservations biggest failure is that it seems to reinforce rather than dilute caste-based popular clamour.Social groups,some not-so-needy,continue to seek its supposed protective cover,often through violent means.Try telling that to Indias politicians,whove long turned quotas into a tool of competitive electoral mobilisation.Rajasthans leaders sometime ago granted Gujjar demands for self-serving ends.Today,Haryanas Hooda and UPs Mayawati back a Jat agitation for central jobs under the OBC category.Whats blinked at is that,six decades ago,it was thought that ostracised and marginalised groups needed reservation only as a time-bound instrument of socio-economic levelling.India has come a long way since then.
Today,reservation has ended up creating creamy layers in targeted sections.The Supreme Courts 50% ceiling on quota has been breached as well,as in Tamil Nadu.Quotas were meant to facilitate upward mobility in terms of jobs,livelihoods or status.Instead,they have virtually come to resemble sarkari privilege,promoting a race to the bottom with more and more social groups demanding inclusion under SC/ST or OBC categories.Clearly,if were to have reservation,it must be based on the economic criterion.More important,quota-based positive discrimination must make way for affirmative action in the form of efficient services delivery to the poor across the social board.
To the UPA governments credit,social schemes are being pushed with a broad,secular approach to promoting socio-economic uplift,be it through Bharat Nirman or the National Rural Health Mission.Whether NREG,the proposed food security scheme or right to education,the focus has been on need,not caste.This is as it should be.Whereas quotas create social friction by building coddled niches,welfare-for-all has unifying potential,and hence can help bridge caste divides.The midday meal scheme in schools encouraging community eating at a young age is a case in point.
The underprivileged have a sense of powerlessness and low self-esteem precisely because theyve been treated as a faceless collective to be swayed by political populism,rather than as individual citizens with distinct identities and entitlements.Heres where UID and financial inclusion come in.By giving the poor identity,financial agency and provable claim to social benefits,such projects can do more good than quotas ever could.Similarly,reservations in perpetuity cant substitute for genuine empowerment flowing from access to education,healthcare and infrastructure.Development,fast-tracked,will work the magic reservation hasnt in over 60 years.In a new,aspirational India where vote-bank politicking increasingly seems an anomaly,the needy realise this.The outcome of key elections in Bihar a state long associated with casteist politics has demonstrated this not once but twice.





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No SC tag for dalit Christians, Muslims?


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Half of Indias poor are SC/ST 

Subodh Ghildiyal TNN 

NewDelhi:Scheduled Castes and Tribes constitute half of the total poor,deprived households,a pilot survey to identify the Below Poverty Line population has found.
The survey found that SCs/STs were a mere 25% of the non-poor households who showed deprivation on some of the parameters ranging from housing to illiteracy to homelessness and destitution.
The findings reiterate the long-held hypothesis that dalits are the most-underprivileged sections of population and the easiest marker of poverty.
The pilot survey is significant given that results have come from the representative sample of 166 villages across 22 states.It will form the basis for the full-fledged survey to be conducted soon to identify the poor.
Vivek Kumar,sociologist with Jawaharlal Nehru University,said the findings proved that caste and class identities in the country overlapped and the social identity of dalits led to cumulative deprivation cutting across parameters for identification of poor.Economic deprivation depends on social identity, he said,summing up the inferences from the pilot survey.
That 22% of the population (SC/ST) forms half of the countrys rural poor is in line with known facts about poverty statistics but it is startling that the theory continues to hold good.After the pilot survey,the anticipated household exercise to identify the poor with methodology refined by Planning Commission member Mihir Shah for the Union rural development ministry would show where the final figures stand.
While dalits and tribals form the bulk of poor households,their share drops to 25% among the non-poor households with deprivation,afact which underlines the relationship between SC/STs and economic status.The communities are not just poor but also score high on kuchcha housing,illiteracy among adults,homelessness,destitution,landlessness with agricultural wages as their main source of income.
The BPL survey is crucial because the identified families would form the target group of governments welfare schemes.According to observers,the BPL survey is crucial to the fate of dalits because they form the bulk of beneficiaries of targeted welfare.

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WORST HALF: Pilot survey covered 166 villages across 22 states 
 




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Another “Dalit” turns out to be a Christian

Vatican stooge K G Balakrishnan Exposed by Kerala SC – ST federation
31/12/2010 10:22:08  HK

Kochi: Kerala SC – ST federation  Advocate K V Kumaran, revealed explosive information about former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and his family. As revealed K G Balakrishnan is a Crypto Christian planted by Vatican as part of their global evangelisation agenda.

K G Balakrishnan’s daughter and son in law Sri Nijan was sponsored by World Council of Church to complete higher education in law in London. World Council of Church is a Vatican sponsored organisation with an annual budget of  145 Billion dollar and their aim is global evangelisation.

K G Balakrishnan’s father was one Mr Lookose who changed his name as Gopinathan to usurp the benefits of SC-ST Hindus.He later got retired in a high post from Kerala High court.

K G Balakrishnan was a pawn planted by Vatican to take favourable verdict for converted Christians in a case registered in 2004 with case number 180. Once get a favourable verdict converted Christians can get all benefits granted by Constitution to SC-ST Hindus. By this Vatican can intensify their conversion agenda. The forces who stand for Ranganatha Mishra report is also sponsored by Vatican and aims to bring constitution amendment to extend reservations to converted Christians.

A Memorandum was submitted by Kerala SC-ST Federation in 2006 to Indian President and copy of it were given to Prime Minister and CBI Director with full evidences that K G Balakrishnan is a Crypto christian who grabbed the benefits of genuine SC-ST Hindus. 

Sri Nijan who is now exposed by Asianet was a Congres candidate in Njarrakkal in a SC-ST reserved seat. Sri Nijan is a practicing Christian who even openly went to worship in Church even on poll day making mockery of law of land. These fake name sake Hindus should be exposed and is doing more harm to SC- ST Hindus.

K G Balakrishnan was made High Court judge with special recruitment by former president K R Narayanan. K G Balakrishnan’s brother another Crypto Christian Advocate K G Bhaskaran was earlier suspended from practice for taking bribe when his wife was Magistrate.Later this suspension was revoked following the interference of K G Balakrishnan. This tainted Advocate K G Bhaskaran was made Government pleader by Achuthanandan Government in Kerala. The complete silence of CPM over this KGB episode owe to their links with this tainted family.

Kerala SC-ST federation Executive Member C C Gangadharan was also present during the press meet called by advocate K V Kumaran.

http://indianrealist.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/another-dalit-turns-out-to-be-a-christian/



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Print Maximize

SC reverses disqualification of Congress MP 

TIMES NEWS NETWORK 

New Delhi: Five-time Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh got back his seat in the Lok Sabha on Thursday after the Supreme Court reversed a Kerala high court decision,which disqualified him for contesting from the Mavelikkara reserved constituency in 2009 by lying that he belonged to a Hindu scheduled caste community.
A bench,comprising Justices Altamas Kabir and A K Patnaik,said the HC erred by not accepting the overwhelming evidence pointing towards reconversion of Suresh from Christianity to Hinduism and his acceptance by the scheduled caste Cheramar community.
Allowing Sureshs appeal,the bench said,The fact that the appellant has been elected four times from Adoor parliamentary constituency reserved for SC is a very strong circumstance to establish that he has been accepted by the members of his caste after his reconversion to Hinduism. 
The HC had held that when Suresh reconverted from Christianity to Hinduism in 1978 he was under the age of 18 years and ruled that there was no acceptable evidence to prove that he was accepted as a member of the Cheramar caste after his reconversion.

Pc0012400.jpg 
BACK IN SADDLE: Kodikunnil Suresh 


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5-10 SC tribes corner quota benefits 

Supreme Court Sends Notice To Centre,Seeks New Reservation Policy 

Dhananjay Mahapatra TNN 

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Union government on a PIL seeking exclusion of 5-10 communities from the Scheduled Castes and Tribes list complaining that they were the creamy layer who cornered 99% of quota meant for advancement of 1,677 other dalit castes and tribes.
A bench of Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik sought responses of the Centre and states to the PIL by O P Shukla,who belongs to Balmiki community and is a former judicial member of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
Shukla sought a direction to the governments to implement recommendations of various committees to exclude Chamar,Mala,Mahar,Meena,Dusad,Pasi and Dhobi communities from the list of Scheduled Castes and work out a new reservation policy.A select 5-10 castes/ tribes among the target group have become financially so strong to be compared with higher castes of society.Therefore,further empowering them by way of giving them continued and further reservation will amount to unjust enrichment and will amount to violation of constitutional provisions, he said.
Shukla requested the court to direct the government to review and revise the reservation policy to give benefits starting from the communities languishing at the lowest strata among the SCs and STs.
Only 1% powerful castes among SCs and STs are cornering the benefits and the 99% deserving communities of neglected sections of SCs and STs are being deprived, he said.The present reservation policy had failed to protect the constitutional rights of people belonging to 1,091 SC communities and 586 ST groups,he said.
Periodical extension of the blanket reservation policy after every 10 years is unconstitutional and even against the spirit of the Constitution as it was never envisaged to allow socially advanced communities within the SCs and STs to corner the entire benefits of reservation, the petitioner said.

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Sensitive cables reveal views that portrayed Indian Dalit groups as threats to US

The Indian census does not ask respondents for caste status, making any figures an estimate at best: David Mulford (US ambassador to India January 2005 to February 2009).

Arpit Parashar 
New Delhi

Udit_Raj.jpg

"US has a dwarfed understanding of caste system. They look at it from the prism of racism," says Dalit intellectual Udit Raj


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Back in 2005, the United States recognised that the Dalits in India were subject to “human rights abuses, including rape, trafficking, and segregation” and that “widespread prejudice against Dalits in India will make quick progress difficult”. However, it chose to ignore attempts by Dalit organisations and individuals to globalise support for Dalits and push for reservations in India’s private sector.

An October 25, 2005 cable titled ‘India’s shame: Lingering bigotry afflicts 200 million Dalits’, an extract of which was released by WikiLeaks on August 26 and cannot be independently verified, was sent by the then US ambassador to India David Mulford. It focused on the testimony of the founder of the All India Confederation of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes Organisations Udit Raj before the US House International Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on Global Human Rights chaired by Congressman Christopher Smith in Washington in September 2005.

It is an assessment which concludes that the status quo regarding US policy on reservations in India’s private sector be maintained claiming that Dalit groups have vested interests and threaten agitations against US companies by conniving with Maoists groups. Strangely, Mulford also claimed that human rights abuses in the country were on the decline, and restricted only to rural areas.

This cable was sent in the backdrop of improving relations between India and the US and after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then US President George Bush signed an agreement to increase cooperation in economic, foreign investments and human rights fields.

Udit Raj’s organisation and another organisation Dalit Solidarity Network were represented by him, Joseph D’Souza, Indira Athawale and Kancha Ilaiyah. They had tried to focus attention on job reservations in the private sector in their presentation which was titled ‘India’s Unfinished Agenda: Equality and Justice for the 200 Million Victims of the Caste System’ and the failure of the Government of India to make sure Dalits are represented fairly in the Indian society.

While the cable said absolutely nothing of the other members who represented the Dalits, it highlighted Udit Raj’s background as a member of the Students Federation of India (SFI) in the 1980s and portrayed him as a “corrupt, communist politician”. It called him “an outspoken opponent of US foreign police” who “regularly participates in anti-American demonstrations”, “and has used his advocacy of Dalit causes to cultivate a high-level media profile and strengthen his CPI (M) credentials”. It also quoted Poor Christian Liberation Movement leader RL Francis’s claim that “Udit Raj does not distribute the funds he raises abroad to the larger Dalit community”.

Mulford commented in the section titled “Tread Carefully” that “the human rights arguments of Udit Raj and other Dalit activists are compelling and likely to receive a receptive hearing in the US” and that “Dalits are certainly the victims of abuse and discrimination” but that “India is undergoing dramatic social change, which is eating away at untouchability” and that “most atrocities now take place in rural areas”. He did not quote any media or government report to support this assessment though.

Udit Raj challenges this assessment by Mulford. “Mulford understood our issue through the understanding of those intellectuals who have played down the caste oppression since Independence. When there is open admission of caste in the matrimonial columns of newspapers everyday, how can it be concluded that caste discrimination has gone down?” he questioned. “Also, I have never received any funds from abroad. It is a baseless allegation,” he said.

Mulford, without naming anyone, claimed that “Some Dalit leaders have a vested interest in perpetuating GOI paternalism and the reservation system as they are personally benefiting from the status quo”, concluding that “the most useful action the US can take is to praise and provide assistance to efforts by India’s private and public sectors to address Dalit discrimination. This would be more effective than attempting to shame the GOI into action by repeatedly emphasizing the negative aspects of India’s social structure”, essentially ignoring the arguments by the Dalit groups that the Indian private sector too is dominated and run by the upper castes.

The cable called the issue of reservations a politicised one, which benefited a select few, questioning even the exact percentage of Dalits in the country. It also advocated that the caste system needs to be eradicated to get rid of untouchability instead of having caste-based reservations.

It said the UPA government “has been responsive regarding the untouchability issue and is debating what to do about it”. It drew from the Article 17 of the Indian Constitution which “outlawed untouchability in 1950” and said that successive governments “continued to rely on caste reservations in public sector employment and education” which “benefited a creamy layer of Dalits who were able to take advantage of reservations” but “did nothing to discourage Indians from embracing a caste identity”.

“The reservations issue became politicised in the late 1980s, when the GOI began extending reservations to more and more groups, causing a heated backlash among groups that were left out, who feared they were being deprived of desirable government jobs and slots in educational institutions. Today more there are more than 50 percent reservations in some areas, causing deep resentment among higher-caste Hindus, including the occasional public suicide by frustrated job-seekers,” the cable said.

Mulford further quoted the NDA government appointed head of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes Suraj Bhan’s comments to the press that “the reservation system is not functional as it gives legal sanction to untouchability and bogus claims by higher caste members claiming to be Dalits have been on the rise and reserved seats are not being filled on the plea that there aren’t enough suitable candidates”, also quoting his arguments that “untouchability will not disappear until the caste system is eradicated”.

This, Udit Raj counters, shows a dwarfed understanding of the caste system. “They look at it from the prism of racism and religious conflicts. Their feedback is after all from the upper caste employees at their missions,” he said.

Mulford dismissed the fact that Dalits constitute 21-25 percent of the country’s population. “While social scientists generally agree that approximately 21-25% of the Indian population are Dalits, it is difficult to determine with great accuracy how many Indians fall within this category. Dalits are themselves divided into upper and lower castes, and many in the upper echelons claim they are not Dalits at all. The Indian census does not ask respondents for caste status, making any figures an estimate at best,” the cable said. Mulford pointed out, ironically, that of “six Embassy FSN (Foreign Service Nationals) political staff, three are Brahmins, one Kayasth, one Rajput and one Sikh” and that “No political FSN has taken a stance on Dalit issues”.

Udit Raj, the cable claimed, had told embassy officials that Brahmins are the natural enemies of Dalits and use their dominant position to perpetuate the caste system. “Claiming that Brahmin FSNs predominate in the Embassy Political Section, he accused them of keeping the real story of Dalit oppression from Political Officers,” the cable said. He is also quoted as having said that Brahmins run the Indian Embassy in Washington, dominate the GOI and sweep the Dalit cause under the rug. “Raj opined that upper caste Indians are not embarrassed by the lingering racism and do not want the system exposed and reformed, as they would lose their slaves,” the cable said.

Mulford, however, rejected the Brahmin dominance of Indian politics and government structure as factually incorrect; pointing out instead that South India has been making “great strides” in reducing the importance of caste in politics for many years. It talked of the “success of the Dravidian parties” in Tamil Nadu and the establishment of Dalit-based politics in North India “as epitomized by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) of Mayawati” which is “recruiting Brahmins”, also pointing out the emergence of fringe parties with mostly upper caste MLAs like the Lok Janashakti Party of Ram Vilas Paswan and of OBC leader Uma Bharati in the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mulford though indicted the Indian media for giving insufficient coverage to crimes against Dalits, pointing out that despite initial reporting on incidents, the press moves on to other stories quickly when it comes to cases of crimes perpetuated against Dalits. The cable also quoted Raj’s assertion that the Indian media portrayed him and the others who testified before the US Congress representatives as “beggars who were unpatriotic to go to a foreign government to discuss the plight of Dalits.”

Udit Raj says he and other representatives had argued that globalisation was diluting job opportunities for Dalits and it was important to mobilise global economic players to do something beneficial for the community.

Pointing out that there are no Dalits as CEOs in any private company in India, they had argued that funds for promoting education and health flowing from America must empower Dalits also with English knowledge and equal education. They had also met representatives of the World Bank (WB) and told them that their projects sponsored for drinking water, housing, roads, and other basic amenities must provide for reservation to Dalits and also requested the US House Committee to plead for reservations in the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and USAID aided projects, arguing that Indians managing the US enterprises are also from the upper castes and hence those enterprises too are not free from discrimination in hiring Dalit manpower.

Mulford, on the other hand, wrote that while Dalit groups are finding it difficult to internationalise the issue of oppression of Dalits because upper caste Hindus refuse to support them, they are actually threatening the US companies of agitations against them if they do not tow their line.

“They hope to involve international lending institutions such as the World Bank, and plan to urge them to address the plight of Dalits in all their Indian programs, or face Dalit agitations calling for their withdrawal from India,” the cable said.

The cable also claims that Udit Raj was unconvincing in his argument that “without American intervention to compel the GOI to take action, many within India’s lower castes would abandon conventional politics and embrace Maoist revolution.” He claimed that Udit Raj’s arguments were “overwhelmingly negative” and that he, “in a veiled threat, pointed out that a major shift in Dalit support towards the Naxalites could negatively affect Indo-US relations by drying-up US investment in much of India, as no US Company would build a plant in an unstable area.”

But Udit Raj says these were things he said before the Indian media and not before the US representatives. “I spoke of a possible shift in Dalit support towards Naxalites due to oppression much later in India based on my assessments. These were not part of our presentation there (in the US) or part of discussions with US officials,” he said.

Arpit Parashar is a Senior Correspondent with Tehelka.com. 
arpit.parashar@tehelka.com



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Full Text: Dalit Memorandum against Church Discrimination

Dali 2
 

Date: 15.12.2014 

Mr. KudanthaiArasan,

Founder & President,

Viduthalai Tamil Puligal Katchi,

And alliance of various Dalit Christian Movements

No: 541, Kamarasar Nagar- New Street

Melakaveri- Post,

Kumbakkonam- 612002,

Thanjavur-District,

Tamil Nadu,

Mobile No: 09894182482.

E Mail Id: kudanthaiarasan73@gmail.com

Note: National Commission for Scheduled Castes is requested to take necessary action/ start enquiry proceeding against the following Church Authorities against the traditional practice of untouchability oriented caste discriminatory practice/ social exclusion based up on the Indian Constitution Article 17, the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 (Act No. 22 of 1955)- An Act to prescribe punishment for the (Preaching and Practice of “Untouchability”) for the enforcement of any disability arising there from and for matters connected therewith and as per the Indian Constitution Article 338 (9).

To

Honourable.Dr P.L Punia

Chairperson

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)

Nation Commission for Scheduled Castes,

5th Floor, LokNayakBhawan,

Khan Market,

New Delhi-110003

 

Honourable. Raj Kumar Verka

Vice-Chairperson

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)

Nation Commission for Scheduled Castes,

5th Floor, LokNayakBhawan,

Khan Market,

New Delhi-110003

 

Honourable. Raju Parmar

Member

National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)

Nation Commission for Scheduled Castes,

5th Floor, LokNayakBhawan,

Khan Market,

New Delhi-110003

 

Honourable.Ishwar Singh

Member

Nation Commission for Scheduled Castes,

5th Floor, LokNayakBhawan,

Khan Market,

New Delhi-110003

 

 



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ARCHBISHOP ARULAPPA CONDEMNS VATICAN FOR PROMOTING A DALIT BISHOP AS HIS SUCCESSOR IN HYDERABAD, INDIA

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Recently Vatican has promoted Bishop Marampudi Joji of Vijaywada as the Archbishop of Hyderabad to succeed Archbishop Arulappa. Bishop Joji is a dalit bishop from Andra Predesh. In India, there are 156 bishops in the Catholic church which has a population of 25 million.  Except 6 bishops, the rest of them are coming from the upper caste community. Even these six bishops were appointed very recently by Vatican through the pressure given by 20 million dalit Christians of India who form 75% of the total Catholic population. Yet in the Indian catholic church, both in the  hierarchy and in the structure, dalit Christians have no place at all. The whole Catholic structure has been invaded by the upper caste community. Vatican was totally ignorant of this fact.  It is only recently that the upper caste bishops unwillingly recommended six dalit priests as bishops in order to yield to the pressure of the dalit Christians. Generally Vatican accepted candidates proposed by the bishops in India but Vatican was totally ignorant of the fact that caste played the crucial role in the recommendation of the bishops.  For example: In Tamilnadu, out of 16 bishops, only three  are dalit bishops. 

Now the appointment of a dalit bishop as the archbishop of Hyderabad has irritated both Arulappa, the upper caste bishop  who is retiring after a lengthy period. The upper caste clergy and the people are furious over Vatican for promoting a dalit to a metropolitan area. One has to remember that in Andra Predesh, 85% of the Catholics are dalits. Yet dalits are not respected. The remarks of Arulappa betrays his caste fanaticism with which he ruled over his diocese all these years. He goes to the extent of condemning the decision of Vatican for promoting a dalit as an Archbishop for the first time. He has already set timeline that Joji would not even  last in Hyderabad for five years. Above all these, he has accused the dalit bishop Joji that he would work only for dalits. Is it not the reflection of his own strategy by which he has been supporting  his own caste men and women during his tenure? 

In fact, Arulappa was himself not a native of Andra Predesh. He hails from Velacherry, Tamilnadu,  from the archdiocese of Madras. He was an ordinary priest in the parish of Veperi. But he was directly promoted as the archbishop of Hyderabad. The only criteria for him was that he was an upper caste priest, belonging to the Naidu community. He was recommended by another upper caste bishop, Mark Gopu, a Reddi from Thatchoor  to continue the caste lineage.  Although Arulappa was an outsider,  the people of Andra Predesh accepted him as their Bishop. Now Joji, a native of Andra Predesh is appointed to succeed him. All the more, Joji is the first dalit archbishop appointed by Vatican in India. Vatican is at least realising her mistakes of the past and correcting her ways. Instead of welcoming  bishop Joji to the diocese, Archbishop Arulappa and his upper caste group are  maneuvering the situation. Is it not hypocrisy on the part of  Arulappa to have lived all his life with this kind of deep caste mentality? Is he not betraying his own Indian bishops who declared that caste discrimination is denial of Christianity and inhuman?  It is tragedy that  bishop Arulappa could not digest the fact of a dalit becoming as his successor. Was he truly a representative of Christ during his tenure as the bishop of Hyderabad? Was he merely an hypocrite, perpetuating caste mentality within the church? This is only a sample of larger issues with which the Indian church is struggling with. It reveals the fact how caste plays a vital role in the Catholic church of India. It indicates how the dalit Christians have been suffering martyrdom all these years in their own churches.  Even during this Jubilee year, on 23rd January 2000,  the Catholic Bishops Conference of India  asked every Christian  to eradicate untouchability and caste mentality  which is  a sinful reality".  Yet the shepherd sets a bad example for his flock to follow the footsteps of Jesus in our daily life. If so, how can the kingdom of  God will flourish in country that has several million non-Christians?

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Below are articles published in North America and Asia about Bishop Arulappa 

Low-caste bishop's transfer in India brings mixed reaction
Source: Catholic News Service   or www.catholicnews.com, March 29, 2000

Apointment First Dalit Bishop
Sources: Long Island Catholic Weekly, April 5th, 2000, New York, USA

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(Please note: Out of 156 Catholic bishops in India, 150 bishops belong to the upper caste community. Only 6 bishops belong to dalit community. Out of 12,500 Catholic priests, only 600 are from dalit community. 75% members of the Indian Christian community are from dalit community 25% of the Upper caste Christians (clergy, religious and laity)  have complete control over the dalit or untouchable Christians ) 

 



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 CHURCH LEADERSHIP FIGHTING FOR SC RIGHTS FOR THE DALIT CHRISTIANS LATHI CHARGED, WATER CANONED, COURT ARRESTED AND KEPT IN POLICE CUSTODY   C:\Users\Sushma\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.IE5\F3SG1L8W\cni leaders led by alwan maish.jpg

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), the National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) along with the Church of North India (CNI) jointly organized a dharna and rally at JantarMantar, New Delhi on December 11, 2013, demanding equal treatment by the Indian Government and justice to Dalit Christians by wayof according Scheduled Caste status to them.

Mr. AlwanMasih, General Secretary, The Synod of the Church of North India led a strong delegation of hundreds of members from across Church of North India to protest against discrimination meted out by the Government of India to Dalit Christians by not according them SC status as Christians. Bishop M.U. Kanab  of the Diocese of  Marathwada , Bishop Warris Masih of the Diocese of Rajasthan , Bishop Yunous Massey of the Diocese of Chandigarh , Bishop P.P.Habil of the Diocese of Agra,  Bishop Naresh Ambala  and senior Pastors from the Diocese of Delhi were personally present to lead and encourage their members during the rally .Speaking during the rally ,  the General secretary  said that, “denial of reservation status to the Dalit Christians is a discrimination and human rights violation, thereby demanding Government of India to reply to Supreme Court and give equal rights to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims as have been given to other Dalit’s in India .The Dalit Christians have been struggling for decades voicing and demanding through various means to strike down the Presidential Order of 1950 which denies equal rights to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin on the basis of religion. The General Secretary underlined that Para 3 of the Presidential Order 1950 is contrary to and violative of the fundamental rights assured by the Constitution of India to Christians and Muslims”

church2.jpgThe protestors from various dioceses of the Church of North India, which includedBishops,Pastors, Lay leaders men, women and young people, gathered at the CNI Bhavan and started for the venue of the rally at Jantar Mantar with prayers by Bishop M.U.  Kasab, Bishop P.P.Habil and Mr. Prem Masih Acting Treasurer CNI Synod. During the rally, leaders from different denominations and Dalit organizations addressed the protestors and called upon them to peacefully fight against discrimination against Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. A peaceful dharna holding banners with  slogans protesting anddemanding equal treatment by the Indian Government was organized .After the rally  when the Church leaders including Archbishops ,Bishops , Nuns ,  lay leaders , and leaders of  Dalit Christian organizations along with the   Muslim Leaders  were silently marching from JantarMantar towards the Parliament House demanding their due  rights,suddenly the police intervened and  brutally cane charged them. In order to disperse the peaceful protestors, the police resorted to use of water cannons and threw cold and dirty water with unbearable pressure on the protestors. As a result,a number of the protestors got badly injured.When despite all this high handed ness   by the police, the protestors refused to leave the Protest March, the senior’s police officers present at the occasion declared that all the protestors werecourt arrested. Theyordered brought buses and by taking the protestors in custody took them to Parliament Street Police station and confined them to police custody.Those who courted arrest and were taken to police custody included the Christian leaders along with the CNI Synod, General Secretary, Mr. Alwan Masih, Bishop M.U. Kasab, Bishop Yunous Massey, Bishop Naresh Ambala, Bishop Warris Masih,  Archbishop Anil JT Couto, Bishop Neetinathan,   Dr John Dayal, Revd. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI, Mr. Samuel Jaykumar and Rev Philip Raj of NCCI,Mr. Vijayesh Lall EFI , Prof. Mary John NCDC , Mr. V. J. George, Mr. Franklin Caeser Thomas , other bishops and pastors, Fathers and nuns , women and youths .  In spite of many  having been badly   beaten and wet due to water thrown on them , even during the custody ,  the protestors kept shouting slogans against the Government  demanding SC rights for  Dalit  Christians and Dalit Muslims and they asked for the   intervention of the Prime Minister of India. Late in the evening a message was received that the Prime Minister has called a delegation of 15 Christian and Muslim Leaders on the following day in the Parliament house, to meet him and to   submit memorandum to him. After this the protestors were released from the police custody. church3.jpg

This is acowardly act by the police, as the crowd comprised of top church leadership, bishops, priests, nuns including Christian leaders across the country.Church of North India is determined and hopes that these sacrifices and selfless efforts will not go in vain and will certainly result in continued and increased enthusiasm and determination towards getting thelegitimate rights for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in India  .This is the first time after  27 November 1997 that bishops and religious leaders were arrested for embracing and supporting the Dalit cause  and the first time when they were brutally  lathi charged and water cannoned by the police  .

Being a Dalit and Persecuted Church, the Church of North Indiastrongly supports the cause of Dalit Christians and is struggling with all possible prophetic efforts so that the issue could be addressed immediately and discussed in the Parliament of India.

Members of the core committee, Most Rev. Anil Couto, Archbishop of Delhi, MrAlwanMasih, General Secretary, CNI Synod, Revd. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI, Prof. Dr. M. Mary John, Chairman, NCDC, Mr. Reyazuddin, All India United MuslimMorcha and Father Deva Sagayaraj, Secretary, CBCI, Mr. Samuel Jay Kumar NCCImet Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India on 12/12/13 in Parliament Room number 9 to uprise him about the situation and to put forth the anguish and pain the community is going through due to the denial of basic democratic right to the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. A memorandum demanding the following was given to the Prime Minister. 

•      The UPA Government must take speedy steps to implement the recommendations of National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (RangnathMisra Commission), in the present session of parliament itself.  

•      The UPA Government should immediately file a reply (court affidavit-written statement) to the query of HonorableSupreme Court of India, on the Writ Petition No.180/2004 pending in the Supreme Court for the past 9 years and put an end to its deliberate delaying tactics.

The Prime Ministergave a patient hearing, apologized for uncalled for police  Lathicharge  and water cannoning of the clergy and lay leadership of the Church ,  and assured the delegation to put up the matter before the Cabinet Committee  to take necessary  decision in this regard.

church4.jpg     dalitprotestpm2_resize.jpg

 

ALWAN MASIH



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 Pain being a Dalit priest in Delhi Catholic Archdiocese

 
by R.L. Francison 20 Nov 20082 Comments
 
 
 
 

The leaders of the Indian Church are being accused of not giving equal status and opportunity to Dalits in the Catholic Church to this day. The scheduled castes and tribals fought against religion, an unjust society, and unequal economic distribution, and accepted Christianity, only to later realize that in Christianity also there was/is no equal justice and place for them.


Dalit and Tribal Catholics are sad for not having a dignified life in the Catholic Church. Upper caste Catholics are having a full hold and control on the Catholic Church. Almost all priests, bishops and cardinals come from the upper castes and select leaders for different associations from their own castes.


There are very few Dalit priests and nuns in the Catholic church. Converted Dalit Catholics had great hopes from Dalit priests and nuns in all the dioceses, so when Dalit priests and nuns are harassed and persecuted by Bishops and superiors, the converted Dalits become sad and lose hope of gaining equality and justice in the Church. In fact, in order to have full hold on the Catholic Church, upper caste Bishops and priests deny equal place and opportunity to the Dalit priests, nuns and lay persons in the Church.


Fr. William Premdass Chaudhary is the only local Dalit priest in the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. On 30 July 2006, his family members and villagers held a dharna at the Bishop’s house to protest the discrimination against Fr. William Premdass by Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao. His brother Laxmi Chand gave a memorandum to the Archbishop and appealed to him not to mistreat his brother on the basis of region and caste.


Mr. Laxmi Chand reminded the Archbishop about the pain and trouble they had suffered in order to make his brother, Fr. William, a catholic priest for Delhi Diocese. Most of the family members and villagers are Hindu, so they had opposition within the family and in the village. Mr. Laxmi Chand lives in Gurgaon, Haryana. He said that his brother completed 11 years of priestly study in order to become a priest for Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. It was hoped that he would be able to work for deprived people in society.


Mr. Laxmi Chand told Archbishop Vincent Concessao via the memorandum that the family sacrificed Fr. William to work selflessly in the church and spread the message of love of Christ. The family was shocked when it came to know that their brother was being ill-treated on the basis of caste and region, and that the Archbishop was against local Dalit Catholics and encouraged regionalism and casteism in the Archdiocese.


Fr. William Premdass was appointed at Faridabad and Rewari in Haryana, and Defence Colony, Delhi Cantt, Mayur Vihar Ph-III and Pitampura churches in Delhi; but he was not allowed to work freely by the Archbishop who constantly interfered in his work. Mr. Laxmi Chand alleged that the Archbishop was discriminating against local Dalit Catholics and local Dalit priests on the basis of language, region, race, colour and caste. Catholic Archdiocese never consulted local Dalits and priests while taking important decision; the Archbishop has different rules and regulations for North Indian and South Indian priests, which is against the policy of the church and Christianity.         


Fr. William Premdass’ family denied any intent to insult or dishonour Rev. Bishop Vincent Concessao. But as the family had sacrificed a brother in the name of Jesus Christ, they were grieved to find that within the church he was being forced to live a life of insult and humiliation. After loyally serving the church for over 15 years, he was facing injustice and partiality at the hands of the authorities. The family has claimed that the Archbishop is putting conditions of long retreat before assigning the parish to Fr. William, though there are no conditions for other priests who have not gone on long retreat and are holding important positions in Church.


There are 14000 priests in the Catholic Church, but only 600 are Dalits. There are 160 Bishops but only 6 are Dalit. Dalits comprise 70% of the total population of the Catholic Church. But a few upper caste Bishops and priests rule and control the church and use church property for their own ends. Church leaders are increasing their kingdom while converting Hindu Dalits to Christianity; they are creating divisions and tensions in Indian society through their activities in India.


In fact, Indian Churches are being controlled and ruled by the southern, particularly Portuguese, churches. Portuguese missionaries and people could not influence and control Indian politics, but they had full control over the Catholic Church. Vasco D’Gama was sent to India by the Pope to control the Indian Catholic Church. Before the Portuguese missionaries arrived in India, they were already old Catholics and Syrian Catholics in India, especially in South India.


Portuguese missionaries made them their slaves by force while the British were ruling and controlling India. The upper caste Catholics of Kerala and Tamil Nadu obeyed and worked along with Portuguese missionaries. Even though the British left India, the Pope had influence and control over the Catholic Church.


Independent India gave the people freedom on religion. Foreign missionaries had left enough wealth, movable and immovable property in the Catholic Church, and this wealth now fell under the control of upper caste bishops, priests and leaders. In order to increase the population of the church, the upper caste bishops, priests and missionaries started to convert Hindu Dalits and poor people to Christianity. They received foreign aid to increase church population, and this in turn increased the church votebank. This gave the upper caste bishops, priests and church leaders the protection of Indian politicians. As they received help and protection from politicians, Indian missionaries took advantage in converting Hindu Dalits to Christianity.


Recently many persons died in Kandhmal district in Orissa. Many churches, institutions and houses were burnt and there was a heavy loss of wealth and life. These were Schedule Caste people, belonging to Pana caste, who are converts. Church leaders are fighting and demanding the State Government give people of Pana Caste the status of Schedule Tribe so that they may not loose quota after conversion.


This is the real hurdle for conversion before the church leaders. For many decades church leaders were/are trying to remove this root hurdle for converting Hindu Dalits by forcing the Government to give them the status of Schedule Tribe. This struggle has built up tensions in the region.


Actually church leaders are not interested in the development of converted Catholics; they only want to increase numbers. They are eyeing 16 crore Hindus. The church leaders are playing a double game. If people of Pana caste are given Schedule Tribe status, they will retain quota/reservation after accepting Christianity and the Church need not to give them anything, and conversions may continue. Church leaders are running a conversion shop.


The Indian Catholic Church must follow the rules and regulations (Canon Law) of the Catholic Church. The Vatican appoints the Indian Bishops. Usually Catholic Bishops give less importance to the local community and that’s why their interference in the work of local priest brings suffering to local priests.


In the year 2000, Fr. Anthony Fernandez SJ, was harassed, persecuted and asked to leave the society because he raised his voice against conversions and refused to change the religion of the local community; he also challenged various rights of Bishops. Fr. Henry of Jhansi Diocese was insulted and persecuted because he took the side of local poor Christians.


Today many priests are facing punishment and posting in neglected places for being Dalits and speaking up for their own people. “Poor Christian Liberation Movement” (PCLM) is a leading organisation working for Dalit Christians and demanding equality and respect for Dalit priests and nuns. In the words of Jesus Christ, we should be like salt. If the salt has no taste, it will have no use and will be thrown outside like dust and trampled upon.      


The author is president, Poor Christian Liberation Movement



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 India's ‘Untouchables’ are one Priest's Mission A regular feature of The Catholic New World, The InterVIEW is an indepth conversation with a person whose words, actions or ideas affect today's Catholic. It may be affirming of faith or confrontational. But it will always be stimulating. Father Benjamin Chinnappan, founder of Dalit Solidarity and a Chaplain at Hines VA Hospital in Maywood, holds a photo of Indian Children who his organization has helped. Dalits are outside India’s caste system and face discrimination and persecution When Oak Forest resident and India native Subhash Chander set fire to his daughter’s apartment on Dec. 30 — killing her, his unborn grandchild, his grandson and sonin- law — he reportedly did so because she married a man from a lower caste. While his action may seem barbaric to Americans, in India it’s often par for the course. 2 For more than 1,500 years, the country has had a system in place that is rooted in Hinduism and divides, sometimes violently, its people into four castes, or Varnas: Brahmins, the priests and scholars; Kshatriyas, soldiers and administrators; Vaisyas, artisans and commercial class; Sudras, farmers and peasants. Beneath these four castes are the Dalits, the “untouchables.” In India, people are often discouraged from associating or marrying out of their castes, as seen in the Oak Lawn case. And discrimination is particularly harsh and brutal for the outcastes — Dalits. For Father Benjamin Chinnappan, improving the lives of these “untouchables” is a life mission. Chinnappan works as a chaplain at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Maywood and assists at St. Eulalia Parish, 1851 S. 9th Ave., Maywood. He is a native of India and a Dalit. In 2000, while serving in the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., Chinnappan formed Dalit Solidarity, a U.S. non-profit that raises funds for projects in India to help Dalits with education, health care and other needs. He recently spoke with editor Joyce Duriga about the Oak Lawn tragedy and persecution of Dalits in India. For information about his organization visit www.dalitsolidarity.org or call (800) 941-8011. Catholic New World: What were your thoughts when you heard about Subhash Chander murdering his daughter and her family because she married someone outside her caste? Father Benjamin Chinnappan: What happened in Chicago is beyond our human comprehension. Everyone is deeply shocked at this horrific tragedy that rooted out four precious human lives. This is a daily phenomenon in rural India where Dalits suffer silently at the hands of the upper-caste community. Dalits have been exposed to this kind of oppression for centuries. I have personally witnessed tragic stories of my own friends who were bold enough to break the caste barriers. I am also a victim of the caste discrimination since my childhood, even as a Catholic and, above all, as a priest, I could not escape the horror of the caste oppression. Despite all my educational and economical status, I am still fighting this injustice. CNW: This caste system has been in place for the last 1,500 years. Why has it lasted so long? Chinnappan: The simple answer to your question is that there is no good will among the caste people to correct this injustice. The Dalits themselves are powerless to fight for their emancipation. World communities have just recently heard about these grave injustices. Unlike slavery or apartheid, caste cannot be abolished by laws only. We need both people’s movement and a radical attitudinal change. Caste is a state of mind. CNW: Discrimination against Dalits has been officially illegal in India since 1950 but reports say this law is generally not enforced. Why? 3 Chinnappan: The simple truth is that most of the Indian officials who are supposed to enforce the laws are the upper caste themselves, who do not want any action taken against their own people. Both the judiciary and media are owned and controlled by the upper caste. And even when Dalits are raped or murdered, they cannot even file a case in the nearest police station because the police officers will not file these cases. People who come forward as witnesses can be, and often are, killed. Despite constitutional protections, caste discrimination still exists throughout much of India. In 2005, government reports stated there was a crime committed against a Dalit every 20 minutes. CNW: What is life like for this group? Chinnappan: Approximately 200 million Indians, 20 percent of the population, are Dalits. In a country where everybody is supposed to have equal rights, one out of four people are condemned to be “untouchable.” Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in slavelike conditions and routinely abused, even killed, at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups. Dalits in India may not cross the line dividing their part of the village from that occupied by higher castes. They may not use the same wells, visit the same temples and churches, drink from the same cups in tea stalls or lay claim to land that is legally theirs. Dalit children are frequently made to sit in the back of classrooms, and communities as a whole are made to perform degrading rituals in the name of caste. CNW: What is the Catholic Church in India’s response to Dalits? Chinnappan: The practice of caste discrimination within the Indian Catholic Church flows from the fact that the people in the church are a reflection of the people in the Indian society. Though Christianity does not recognize caste, there are upper and lower castes among Christians. Seventy percent of Christians in India are Dalits. In many churches, the low-caste Christians have to sit apart from the high-caste Christians. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India has strongly condemned caste practice in any form within the Catholic Church and India itself. As hard as the bishops try to enforce this, human nature sadly sometimes has the upper hand. When power, authority and control become the basis of one’s life, there is no room for love.



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http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil_nadu/Church-is-Discriminating-Against-Dalits-Thiruma/2014/12/19/article2578401.ece

Church is Discriminating Against Dalits: Thiruma

Published: 19th December 2014

CHENNAI: Amid the raging debate over religious conversions across the country, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi leader Thol Thirumavalavan on Thursday accused the Catholic church of discriminating against Dalits. However, he opposed the efforts by Hindu organisations to re-convert Christians and Muslims.

 

Thirumavalavan

Addressing a joint press meet along with the coordinators of the Dalit Christian People Federation (DCPF) here, he alleged that Michael Raja from Sivaganga diocese was not being conferred a degree in theology which would qualify him for priesthood.

 

He said the DCPF would take it to the notice of the Pope. Dalit untouchability prevailed in Catholic church even though about 22 lakh of the 36 lakh Catholics were Dalits. The administration of Catholic Diocese and churches were with non-Dalits, he claimed.

Worshipping rights for Dalits in churches were denied and car processions were not being taken through Dalit colonies, he said and added that a separate graveyard had been allotted to Dalit Christians.

Thirumavalavan said an ‘Untouchability Eradication Conference’ will be held in Sivagangai in March. The federation would insist on eradicating untouchability in churches throughout the country. Attacking the BJP government, he said that it was keen on imposing Hindutva ideology.  Reacting to a query, Thirumavalavan said he could answer whether his party would continue in the DMK alliance only at the time of elections. However, he added that he would make the issue of alliance clear after Pongal Day.

The party would conduct an agitation on December 23 against the BJP government opposing its attempts to impose Hindutva ideology. He said preference is being to Sanskrit alone while 21 languages were recognised as national languages in the country. Thirumavalavan also strongly attacked efforts to declare Bhagavad Gita as the national scripture.



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