Historic Evidences of Discrimination
At this point, it is necessary to give the lie to a certain lame excuse used by the Indian Government and the Hindu fundamentalists, an excuse for not coming to the aid of the Dalit Christians. Their plea is that Christianity does not believe in casteism, so Dalit Christians cannot be suffering caste discrimination. In point of fact, and unfortunately, as various government commissions have indicated, precisely this form of discrimination has been inflicted on Dalit Christians by Christians within the Christian sphere. For example, even today, inter-caste marriage is difficult if not impossible in the Indian churches.
Papal Document, 1623
The converts from Hinduism to Christianity brought with them their caste practices and symbols even after conversion.
The Bull of Pope Gregory XV, "Bulla Romanae Sedis Antistitis", dated 31 January 1623, accedes to the requests of the missionaries to accommodate themselves to certain caste practices and usages of the new converts. The Pope was granting this permission only as a provisional and conditional measure.
The Bull agreed to tolerate the continuance of certain traditional customs and usages. Taking into account the difficulties encountered by the Brahmin converts if they were obliged to abandon certain external signs (such as sacred thread, sandals, ablutions), and considering that these external rites could be interpreted as meaning signs of nobility and function (nobiliatis et officii) and to show some empathy for human sensibilities, the Bull agreed to tolerate those usages, provided all danger of superstition was avoided and the convert showed charity and respect towards people of obscure condition, this presumably being a reference to Dalits. This document shows the prevalence of the caste mentality among the convert Christians.
Letter of the Propagation of Faith, 1779
to the distinctions of caste in the churches, the congregation for the
Propagation of the Faith wrote in 1779 :-
The Synod of Pondicherry , 1844
This Synod was convoked to foster harmony between the Dalit Christians and the Caste Christians, who wanted to have a partition in church to separate them from the Dalits.
1929 - Christian Depressed classes of South India submitted a Memorandum to the Simon Commission.
1985 - Court verdict upholding the 80 years old practice of separate graveyards for Dalit Christians of Trichy, Tamil Nadu.
There is an abundance of official church and police records on cases like K.K. Puthur, Thatchoor, Pondicherry, Thondamanthurai . However, at no time of history did the Church in India officially affirm or promote the perpetuation of social discrimination inside the Church.