FROM THE EDITOR
DALITS IN THE MEDIA
PRESS STATEMENT FROM CBCI AND
Commission for Scheduled Castes/Tribes
and Backward Classes of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India
CBCI CENTRE, 1 Ashok Place, Gole
Dakkhana, New Delhi, 110 001
Tel: 011/3344470, 3344695, 3344453
Most Rev.Malayappan Chinnappa,
Most Rev. Johannes Gorantla
Most Rev. Thomas Bhalerao
Fr. S. Lourdusamy
– 1998-2000 SUBMITTED TO CBCI GENERAL BODY MEETING AT CHENNAI, ON 14TH
- 24TH JANUARY 2000
of Dalit Christians : The Caste system has seeped into Indian society
and it is prevalent among all the sections of society. Dalit Christians,
forming the majority in the Christian community also suffer humiliation,
discrimination and socio, educational disabilities even after conversion
due to the traditional practice of untouchability in the Church and in
society. The Church in India has condemned the practice of discrimination
against Dalits and constantly reminded the Christian community to maintain
equality and justice in all levels. It is a sad reality that still, caste
discrimination is prevalent in some parts of the Church in India. They
are also denied their fundamental right of reservation by the Government
on the basis of religion. This twice discriminated community crave for
equal rights and brotherhood in the church and in the society.
Plight of Tribals :
Extreme poverty with all its effects: isolation, illiteracy, oppression
by non-tribals and the consequest fears, resentments, suspicions, Government
negligence and police intimidation have been some of the important causes
of Tribal marginalisation. Displacement from their fertile land and forest
have driven them to a pathetic life without rehabilitation. For centuries
the Tribals have suffered all kinds of injustices silently, submissively,
and helplessly, without resistance.
FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Seminar on "Lay
Leadership Training for Development"
A Regional Seminar "Lay
Leadership Training for Development" sponsored by the CBCI
Commission for SC/ST/BC was organized by the TNBC Commission for
SC/ST/BC at the Deepam Complex, Karumandapam, Tiruchirappalli -
620 001, from 26 - 28 June 1998. There were 40 participants: (30
men and 10 women) representing the dioceses, and also the NGOs (DCLM).
Dalit christian liberation movements participated in the seminar.
Leadership Seminar on "Community
A Seminar on Community
Development to the IAS students of two batches (1996-97 1997-98)
was conducted at Deepam, Trichy on 30 June 1998. The purpose of
the seminar, besides bringing them together for an evaluation and
motivation, was mainly to impress upon them their role and responsibility
as the leader of the community.
Leadership Seminar On "Integrated
Development of Tribals"
A Seminar on "Integrated
Development of Tribals" was held at the Social Development
Centre (SDC), Ranchi on 27th -29th July 1998. Delegates from all
the dioceses of Chotanagpur, Santhal Parganas and neighboring tribal
areas namely Ambikapur, Bhagalpur, Daltonganj, Dumka, Gumla, Hazaribagh,
Jamshedpur, Khunti, Muzaffarpur, Rourkella, Sambalpur and Simdega
participated in the seminar. The speakers focused on the present
status of the Tribals and the role of the Tribal leaders in the
development of the community. They stressed more on committed leadership
for the integrated development of tribals.
National Seminar on "The Development
of Depressed Classes"
As the Church in INDIA
is preparing to celebrate YESU KRIST JAYANTI 2000, the CBCI Commission
for SC/ST/BC considered that it is a most appropriate occasion to
express the aspirations of the Dalit Community and involve all the
sections of the Christian Community in the process of empowerment
of Dalits in the Church and in the Society. Hence, a National Seminar
. On "The Development of Depressed Classes" was held on
23-25 October 09 at Sneha Deepam, Alamelumangapuram, Vellore. The
delegates from various dioceses, regional commission secretaries
and CRI representatives participated in the Seminar.
Most Rev. A.M. Chinnappa,
Chairman of the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC presided over the inaugural
session, and shared his vision of liberative leadership based on
the Biblical leaders Moses and David. Dr. James Massey, member of
the National Commission on Minorities inaugurated the seminar and
gave the key note address. The objective of the seminar was Empowerment
of Dalits in the Church and Society
Seminar on "Empowerment of Tribals"
in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti 2000
The United Christian forum for human rights
is composed of all the churches in India. The Office of the CBCI
Commission for SC/ST/BC served as the secretariat for this forum.
The Commission which has been training ‘leadership’ for living the
values of Kingdom of God, colloborated with this forum. The commission
for SC/ST/BC took an active role in organising a public meeting
and Rally held on 4th Dec. 1998, and bringing out a FULL
LIST OF ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS with details.
Kerala Regional Seminar on The Development
of Depressed Classes
The Kerala Regional Seminar, on the Development
of Depressed Classes in view of YESU KRIST JAYANTHI 2000, was held
on 18th and 19th of December 1998 at Spirituality Centre, Manganam,
Kottayam in Kerala State. 80 participants who discussed the plight
of Dalit Christians in Kerala passed resolutions for development.
Tamil Nadu Regional Seminar "The
Empowerment of the oppressed"
A two day Regional consultation
(Tamilnadu) Region was convened at TASOSS, Trichy on 11 & 12
May 1999 under the Title "The Empowerment of the oppressed
and Jubilee-2000". The consultation was jointly organised by
the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC in collaboration with the TNBC
Numbering about 84, the
consultation was participated in by a wide spectrum of persons in
the field: the secretaries of the TNBC Commissions, Secretaries
of the Diocesan Social Service Societies, Secretaries of the Diocesan
SC/ST/BC Commissions, the Executive members of the TNCRI, the General
Body members of the Tamilnadu Dalit Christian Development Forum
and the representatives of the National Campaign on Dalit Human
Rights. The participants identified areas of concern and formed
relevent action programmes for equalities and brotherhood in the
church and in the society.
Rally to Preserve Reservation to Dalits
The All India confederation of SC/ST organisations,
in collaboration with the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC a held Rally
and Dharna at Supreme Court on 1st of September, 99 to
protest against the Verdict of the Apex court on reservation, denying
the due rights of SC/ST and OBC. Dalit Christians and backward class
Christians also are affected by this judgment because they are given
the privilege of reservation under OBC quota. The association of
SC/ST/BC and minorities resolved to continue the struggle for justice.
A memorandum was submitted to Chief Justice of India to review and
revoke the Supreme Court verdict on the reservation.
" Empowerment of the Oppressed
People" in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti – 2000
Kerala Regional Seminar – "Empowerment
of the oppressed people" in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti – 2000"
was held at the Renewal Centre, Ernakulam on 18 – 20 July, 1999.
The seminar was jointly organised by CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC
and KCBC Commission for SC/ST/BC.
The representatives from
different Dioceses, DCMS Organisation (Dalit Catholic Mahajana Sabha),
Major Superiors of Religious congregations in Kerala, K.C.Y.M. (Kerala
Catholic Youth Movement), CML (Cherupushpa Mission League) and K.C.F
(Kerala Catholic Federation) participated in the seminar. It was
heartening to witness more than 140 delegates participating in all
the proceedings of the seminar.
Seminar on "Empowerment of Tribals"
in view of Yesu Krist Jayanti 2000
The Jharkand Regional Seminar on "Empowerment
of Tribals" , sponsored by the CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC
was held at SDC, Ranchi on 12-15th of October 1999. The
Bishops from the Regional Bishop’s Council, Secretaries of Diocesan
Social Services Socities, and representatives of the CRI, Lay association,
Church related organisations and N.G.Os participated in the seminar.
They discussed the life of Tribals in Jharkhand region and decided
to implement effective programmes for Empowerment.
FOR EMPOWERMENT OF DALITS AND TRIBALS
(A) Dalits : After having analysed
the life situation, the problems and the root causes of the problems,
the participants unanimously request the Bishops, Priests, religious and
people, realising their roles, to involve themselves in the process of
EMPOWERMENT OF DALITS IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE SOCIETY.
To ensure equality and
brotherhood in the Church
To urge Religious, Diocesan
Commissions, heads of institutions and Church related organisations
to implement the action plans, proposed by the Church.
To facilitate Dalit vocations
to Priesthood and religious life.
To establish SC/ST/BC
Commissions with full infrastructure
To make ‘Dalit Theology’,
incorporated in the syllabus of the seminaries
To propose Dalit candidates
for Bishopric wherever it is possible
To involve themselves in
the liberation and empowerment of Dalits, the oppressed people.
To motivate the people through
liturgy, preaching and action for equality and justice.
To establish Parish councils
with proportionate representation of Dalits.
To adopt Dalit villages
as their mission area and engage themselves for the development
of the depressed.
To follow the policy of
reservation in Education and Employment.
To help the poor and weak
students through special coaching and remedial classes.
To utilize education and
personal power for the empowerment of Dalits.
1. To organise themselves as
a "people movement" which is self reliant and sustainable
by their own contribution for realising the vision of empowerment.
2. To encourage inter – caste marrigaes for eradication of caste discriminatin
and building unity in the community.
3. To uplift the weaker section in the community by sharing their resources.
4. To build up selfless and committed leadership for social transformation
(B) Empowerment of Tribals :
Participants during the seminar discussed the present condition of Tribals
and discussed the various aspects of their empowerment. Their aspirations
and expectations are expressed through following proposals to be implemented
by all the sections of the Church for the empowerment of Tribals.
To provide them training for
leadership and capacity building in parishes, dioceses and at regional
levels to form themselves as committed leaders to work for Integrated
Development of Tribal Community.
To develop the economic status
of the Tribals, the diocesan social service societies, Catholic Charities,
Catholic Cooperative Society and other agencies are urged to help
eligible tribals to undertake income generation programmes.
To provide basic education
to all the children
To motivate the students for
continuation of their education
To train the youth for job
oriented courses and competitive exams for obtaining jobs.
To collaborate with N.G.Os
and secular organisations for obtaining compensation and rehabilitation
to the Tribals who are affected by displacement.
To revive tribal culture and
history for building up unity among the community
To build up GRAM SABHA and
SELF HELP GROUP in all the dioceses. Xavier Institute of social services
has volunteered to train the people for Gram Sabha and Self Help Groups
in all the diocese of Jharkhand.
INTENSIVE COACHING FOR EMPLOYMENT
( Education for Empowerment )
The CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC
has been training Dalits/Tribals for central and state services in order
to uplift the oppressed communities in the society, and our programme
"Intensive Coaching for Employment", also provides them leadership
formation for social transformation. 350 students have gone through our
comprehensive training and we are happy to note that some of our students
have obtained jobs as Deputy Collectors, District Superintendent of Police,
Registrars and other executive jobs. Several students are going to appear
in the last stage of interview for Group I executive jobs in the states
of Bihar, Ranchi and Andhra.
Although none of the candidates
cleared the last stage of the exam to become Civil servants in the Central
Government, the review Committee recommended the continuation of the programme
because it has motivated the Dalits/Tribals to aspire for higher offices
and has inspired them to continue upward mobility with confidence. The
perseverance of the candidates will certainly lead them to success, and
they will be placed in powerful positions to empower the oppressed communities
by their services.
Academic Education: Intensive Coaching
for employment programme provides multi dimensional training. While training
the students for UPSC Civil Services exam to obtain IAS, it also prepares
them to appear in all the competitive job oriented exams, making them
qualified to secure jobs in other cadres of public and private sectors.
General guidelines on each subject were given in the beginning, guiding
the students to understand the subjects. A well equipped library is maintained
in all the centres. Students purchase the reference books and guides.
The professors provide orientation and sufficient guidelines to put them
on the right track, preparing themselves systematically to approach the
Awareness Education: Leadership
qualities and personality development techinques were emphasized very
much by organizers, visiting administrative leaders. The role of the Dalit
youth in community development was well deliberated during special sessions.
Life history of renowned and dynamic leaders inspired them. Their experimental
study of the society convinced them to commit themselves to lead their
people for liberation. There were also personality and leadership tests
conducted. The students who entered the Centre with fear and an inferiority
complex showed improvement.
Coaching for Main Exam and Interview
: Those students who pass through the prelim exam will continue their
training for the main and for interview in Delhi, because renowned professors
are available in Delhi to guide the students for the final and the toughest
B. Postal Coaching
for Central and State Services
Guidance : Study material is
comprehensive, concise and examination oriented in nature. It’s aim is
to make available almost all the relevant materials on every subject to
the candidates, and reading material that will cover all the aspects of
the subjects. Orientation, clarification and personal guidance will be
provided by renowned Professors for systematic preparation. Seminars or
camps will be conducted in different centres for awareness and motivation
to form committed leadership for social transformation. At the end of
the course one or two model tests will be conducted to asses the progress
of the candidates. Students should pay a small amount as fee as a sign
of their resposibility and commitment.
UPSC Civil Services Exams
for 32 administrative Services in Central Govt.
State Public Services Commissions
Group I exam for administrative jobs in the state.
Staff Selectin Commission
exam for officers’ cadre in various departments of Central Govt.
Banking recruitments Board
exam for probationary offices in the Banks.
Defence Services Exam for
C. Coaching Centres Duration
a. Ranchi (Hindi Medium) 7 months
b. Kottayam, Kerala (English Medium)
" " "
c. Hyderabad, A.P. (English Medium)
" " "
d. Shillong (English Medium) "
e. Trichy (English Medium) 450
hours of coaching
D. Number of
a. Candidates trained in the past
2 years 350
b. Total candidates in 5 centres
c. Total postal coaching candidates
We have published two booklets
for guiding the students to appear in UPSC Civil Services Exam and other
competitive exams to facilitate aspirants to secure Clerical, Managerial
and Administrative jobs in public and private sectors.
(1) Hand Book "Education
for Empowerment". It is a comprehensive guide for Civil services
exams. Each candidate for Civil services should possess this book. It
contains syllabus, complete information about strategy of optionals, methodology
of study, tips for the exam, and list of relevant study materials. The
"Education for Empowerment", programme of the commission is
well described in this book.
(2) Booklet "Directory of
Competative Examinations": This booklet contains all the information
about the competitive examinations conducted by ‘Staff Selections Commission’,
Banking Services recruitments boards, State public services commission,
Railway recruitments, Defence Services and other agencies for various
jobs in the Centre and State Governments.
EQUAL RIGHTS TO DALIT
Human Rights Rally To Demand
Equal Rights to Dalit Christians:
Three Thousand youth, coming
from every nook and corner of India along with Religious Heads, Christian
& Dalit leaders, participated in a convention on 3rd October, 1998
in the national capital, demanding the long pending Constitutional Rights
For Dalit Christians. The President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference
of India, Member of National Integration Council and Archbishop of Delhi,
His Grace the Most Rev. Dr. Alan de Lastic inaugurated the rally at the
Sacred Heart Cathedral. Later a small delegation consisting of religious
heads and youth representatives met the President Shri K.R. Narayanan
and submitted the Memorandum. The President assured the delegation that
he would place the demand of the Christian Community before the government,
with his recommendation. The copy of the memorandum was also submitted
to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister.
B. Demand and Response :
The Christian community of India is dismayed at the inordinate delay of
the Government to render justice. To the Christians in India, the past
45 years, have been years of struggles seeking social justice from the
Union of India through Relay Fast, Nation-wide Closure of Christian Educational
Institutions, Mass Rallies, Hunger Strikes, Prayer Meetings held through
out-the country.The demand for equal rights to Dalit Christians has been
justified by the Commissions appointed by the Government, Judiciary, Legislature
and successive Governments, but justice is being delayed due to a craze
for political gain, and absolute political will is lacking. This Human
Rights issue has been converted into a political issue to satisfy a section
of people by denial of Constitutional Rights to Dalit Christians.
C. Present Situation :
The Commission has already submitted a memorandum to Hon’ble Prime Minister,
Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee, Hon’ble Minister for law and justice Shri.
Ram Jethmalani, other Ministers and all party leaders urging them to press
the Government to fulfil its assurance, given on the floor of the Parliaments
house. We also request all the Bishops and the leaders to persuade the
regional party leaders and cabinet Ministers to raise the question in
the Parliament regarding Government’s assurance.
BJP leaders while replying to
the delegation asserted that their party will not make any more interventions
on this issue for various reasons. The Indian Government has extended
the reservation to SC/ST to one more year. During the debate in the parliament
(Rajya Sabha) on 28th October, 1999 Minister for Law and Justice
Shri. Ram Jethmalani assured us that the Governments will consider the
proposal of Shri Eduardo Falairo M.P for equal rights to Dalits in Christianity
and Islam. Discession on this issue is also held among BJP leaders. Shri
Rajagopal M.P is assigned the responsibility of preparing a draft.
OF CBCI COMMISSION FOR SC/ST/BC FOR FUTURE ACTION
After having examined the proposals
and recommendations of the Christian community in India, the commission
resolved to take up the following programmes for the empowerment of Dalits/Tribals
and Backward Classes.
1. To organise the seminars
and programmes of inter-action to motivate all the Sections in the Church
to wipe out the discrimination and the caste practices at all the levels
and to make collective efforts for the integral development of the Dalit
2. To form a development forum
composed of Bishops, Dalits/Tribals leaders and representatives of Regional
CRI, Multipurpose Societies, Commissions, other bodies etc. to monitor
the implementation of programmes for the development of Dalits/Tribals.
3. To make a scientific survey
by Institute of Development studies on socio, economic and educational
disabilities of Dalit Christians in India for filing the case in the
judiciary and strengthening our demand in the Parliament.
4. To Continue the struggle along
with Human Rights associations, SC/ST Employees Federation, and Dalit/Tribal
movements for Equal Rights to Dalit Christians and justice to the displaced
5. To involve in lobbying in
Delhi in order to persuade the supporters who are in the ruling party
alliance as well as in other parties to press the Govt. to extend equal
6. To continue the intensive
coaching and postal coaching to the students for obtaining jobs in the
public and private sectors
7. To publish booklets: (a) "The
Empowerment of Dalits" (b) "The Empowerment of Tribals"
(c) "Government’s programmes for community developments"
TO CBCI GENERAL BODY FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION
We are thankful to the members
of CBCI for having declared action programmes, in the message of the CBCI
at Varanasi 1998 to be implemented in all the dioceses for the developments
of Dalits/Tribals, but we regret to note that no diocese responded to
our call regarding information about the implementation of programmes.
Hence the commission appeals to all the members to provide details of
implementation of the programmes, recommended by CBCI general body in
Practice of discrimination
in any form should be abolished with time bound action by appointing
a monitoring team which identifies places and forms of discrimination
practiced at all levels, and solves this problem with the cooperation
of all the sections in the Church.
Dalits deserve membership
and leadership in the administration of the Church related organisations.
Personnel from the Dalit Community need to be appointed in the Diocesan
Curia, Religious institutions, Educations institutions in the Diocese
as well as in the Regions, proportionate to the percentage of Dalit
population and it has to be monitored by the local Ordinary.
There must be recruitment
and promotion of vocations from the Dalit Community for priesthood
and religious life according to the size of the population in the
A policy of reservation both
in admission and employment for Dalits/Tribals must be followed by
dioceses and religious congregations.
Many dioceses and regions
do not have either a Commission or any other structure to contact
for Dalit development activities. The formation of Commission would
enable the National Commission to operate in those areas.
Since the privilege
of reservation in education and employment are denied to Dalit Christians,
a scholarship amount will be an incentive and token of encouragement
to complete their studies.
Our Schools and prestigious
Colleges are above reach of the Dalit/Tribals Communities. The students
trained by the Commissions expressed their distress that they could
not avail of the services, rendered by these institutions. The Church
has only educational power at it disposal therefore, the Church
should decide to utilise the available educational resources for Empowering
We thank all the bishops for having
extended their kind cooperation to the Commission in the implementation
of the programmes for the empowerment of Dalits/Tribals and backward classes.
Fr. S.Lourdusamy, Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission
Bishop A.M.Chinnappa, Chairman,
CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC
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