COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES/TRIBES AND BACKWARD CLASSES (OF THE CATHOLIC BISHOP'S CONFERRENCE OF INDIA)
AN APPEAL FOR YOUR SOLIDARITY IN OBTAINING EQUAL RIGHTS TO DALIT CHRISTIANS .
September 1, 97
MOST. REV. ANTONY PILLA, PRESIDENT
I express my deep gratitude for your concern and commitment for poor and oppressed people in India. While India is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Independence, the Dalit Christian community find themselves in chains, deprived of their constitutional rights. The change of religion does not change their Social, Economic and Educational status and they also suffer the same social, economic disabilities on par with their counterparts in other religions. While the privileges of statutory benefits, reservation in education and employment have been extended to Dalits in other religions, the Government has denied the same privileges to Christian Dalits. It is a gross violation of the Indian Constitution's article 14, 15, 16, 25 and Art.18 of the universal declaration of Human Rights (UNO). The booklets enclosed will detail the discrimination experienced by Dalit Christians. We have been making concerted efforts to secure statutory benefits to Dalit Christians and urging the Government through delegations, letter campaigns, memoranda, rallies, prayers and fasts to render justice. On 21st Nov.1996, ten archbishops and bishops from all over the country along with 300 priests, nuns and laity were arrested as they protested the Government's failure to act in extending equal rights to Dalit Christians.
Hence I request your Excellency to express your solidarity by making statement in the U.S.A. Bishops' Conference in favour of the struggle for justice and extend your cooperation in pressing the Government of India to render justice to Dalit Christians.
(FR. S. LOURDUSWAMY)