Current Evidence of Caste
In the Place of Worship
In the churches or places of worship, which were generally laid out in the shape of a cross, the Christians of upper caste or Shudra origin have always humiliated their Dalit fellow Christians by occupying the central part of the church, while the Dalits were assigned to the wings. The Dalits were to take communion only after the upper caste people had done so. In some Protestant churches, there were separate cups for the Dalits at the eucharistic celebration. In the Catholic churches, there were separate communion rails, separate cemeteries in Madras dioceses like Trichy and Pondicherry, Such practices were also found in the Protestant churches.
In many of these communities, at the local level and in the parishes , the majority of Christians are Dalits but leadership and control is still in the hands of the upper caste. In a country where job opportunities are scarce and highly competitive, most of the job opportunities within church-run educational and other institutions go in favor of the upper caste people, acting in collusion with the clergy. The share of job opportunities available to the upper castes, and the influence they enjoy in church-related institutions, is grossly disproportionate to their numbers. It is tragic that vocations to the priesthood andto the religious life were not promoted among possible Dalit candidates. That is why 75% of the clergy and religious in the Catholic church come from that 20% of the catholic population who are of the upper caste.
Current Incident at K.K.Pudur near Madras
K.K Pudur village in Maduranthugam Taluk, Chegalpattu District , 60 kilometers from Madras, has a Catholic population of 2500. Of these, 1500 are Dalit Catholics. The rest of the catholic population belong to the Reddy and the Naidu upper caste. For the past 200 years, these upper caste Christians have oppressed the Dalit Christians by not giving them their due place in the Church and in the graveyard.
On 7 May 1994, there was a violent clash between the two classes of Catholics at K.K. Pudu as they were preparing for the celebration of thepatron feast of their patron, Saint Joseph. the case is filed in police records at Maduranthagam under PCR 687/94, 147, 148, 374, 323, 336, 452 and 307 - IPC. Eighty-four people from both factions were jailed and the church stayed closed for six months.
This practice of caste discrimination within the Indian Church flows from the fact that the people in the church are a reflection of the people in Indian society.