Dalit Christians: SC Status or No Votes
New Delhi, 29 June, 2013
Dalit Christians demand Scheduled Caste (SC) Status denied during the past 65 years.
Unjustified delay by the UPA Government in implementing Justice Misra recommendation
Decide to take a political stand in the forthcoming General Election 2014.
The SC status has been denied to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims by the Presidential Order (SC) 1950, Paragraph – 3 which conferred it first to Dalits professing Hinduism only and later on amended to extend it to Sikh and Buddhist Dalits. It remains a religion-based discrimination selectively against the Christian and Muslim Dalits.
A Writ Petition (No. 180/2004) was filed in the Supreme Court appealing for the deletion of the above said Paragraph-3 as being anti-secular and unconstitutional. In response to the query of the Supreme Court, the UPA Government referred it to the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) headed by the retired Chief Justice of India, Ranganath Misra, to study and recommend on it and told the court that it would take a decision based on it.
After extensive study, Ranganath Misra Report was submitted in May 2007 and it eminently justified and insistently recommended the SC status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Subsequently, the Government referred the matter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), which also recommended the same. Further, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) recommended it. Leaders of almost all major political parties, prominent Dalit leaders have also written to Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh recommending the same, which indicates wide political consensus. Some state governments have passed resolutions in support of this and some Chief Ministers have written to the Prime Minister. Despite all these the Union Government has not taken action on it.
First in 2005 the Government told the Supreme Court that it would take a decision based on the Ranganath Mistra recommendation. On 23.01.2008 itself for the court hearing the Government, through th Additional Solicitor General told that it would take a decision and file a reply in eight weeks’ time. Even after that, it gave such replies about 8 times in the past 5 years. But the reply is not given to the Supreme Court for more than 8 years.
Thus the Congress-led UPA government has not fulfilled any of these assurances, but only shifting from one reason to another to avoid it. Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims all over India are now quite aware of the deliberate delay tactics of the Congress (and the UPA Government) and it stands exposed to be the real obstacle in getting the right.
This has urged them to take a political stand against the delay in resolving the issue.
About 100 Dalit Christian Leaders representing various states and different denominations of the Church in India gathered today at the Conference Hall, CNI Bhavan, Delhi to deliberate on the issue and take a political stand in the light of the forthcoming General Election 2014.
They have expressed great disappointment and regret of their people over the negligent attitude of the Congress-led UPA Government in dealing with the issue and the failure to resolve it by implementing the Ranganath Misra recommendation or through the judicial process.
They have decided not to the support the Government and any political party which fails to take serious action to resolve the issue soon. They are also requesting the authorities of all the Church denominations to collaborate and do the same.
It is not enough if political parties promise support in their Election Manifesto. They want them to raise the issue in the Parliament and strongly support.
They have decided to take this political message and decision to the grassroots and conscientise Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims and these minority communities at large in the months ahead.
National Co-ordination Committee National Council of Dalit
for Dalit Christians (NCCDC) Christians (NCDC)