FROM THE EDITOR
DALITS IN THE MEDIA
COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES/TRIBES
AND BACKWARD CLASSES
A CALL FOR EQUALITY AND BROTHERHOOD
IN THE CHURCH
20th May 1998
TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE HIERARCHY
Caste system has seeped deep into
the Indian psyche. There may be noble ideas and unending discussions on
this abomination; there are also honest individuals who do not practice
Caste-systern in any form BUT there is hardly a section of society that
is free from this obnoxious syndrome altogether. All right thinking believers
are convinced that no one can simultaneously enjoy the fellowship with
Christ and hobnob with the sentiments of casteism. However, when it comes
to practice, the Dalit Christians, who form the majority of believers
in India, are discriminated against, humiliated, despised and even victimised.
The condemnation by CBCI and the repeated appeals by individual Bishops
have not produced any tangible results. In many parts of the country the
Dalit believers continue to be the victims of this baseless and irrational
practice by their brethren in faith.
As Chairman of CBCI Commission for
SC/ST/BC, after having held some informal consultations at various levels,
I would like to propose the following action-plan to eradicate discrimination
and promote a genuinely spirit-filled Christian Community.
||Practice of discrimination in
any form in the place of worship, graveyard and in the community should
be abolished with time-bound action by appointing a monitoring team
which identifies places and forms of discrimination practiced in the
sub-stations and main stations of parishes, religious institutions
and eradicates this sinful practice with the cooperation of all sections
of people, the presbyterium and the religious communities.
|Identify cemeteries which are
wholly or in part reserved for a section of believers based on caste.
If they cannot be thrown open to all, then arrange for new common
cemeteries for all the groups.
||Wherever the practice of having
a separate hearse for each caste is in operation, ensure that a common
hearse (TUMBA) is used by all with no reservation or distinction.
||The celebration of Jubilee
2000 May be 'postponed' until true brotherhood
and equality is practised by all the faithful of a parish.
||Take effective steps to appoint
Dalit members in the administration of the Church and related organisations
according to the proportion of Dalit population.
||Work at having a reservation
policy for the Dalits/Tribals in the diocesan/ religious institutions
||Make efforts to recruit candidates
of Dalit origin for the priesthood and religious life in keeping with
their numerical strength.
This is a re-formulation of the
proposals already accepted by CBCI. I have proposed this as a reminder
for immediate action. The commission will remain in touch, to learn about
In Union of prayers,
Yours in our Lord,
(BISHOP A.M. CHINNAPPA, SDB)
CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC