Pope not to Broach Reservation Issue
New Delhi: Though the Catholic Church has been in the forefront to demand reservation for Christian Dalits, the Pope will not take up the issue with the government during his visit here from November 5 to 8.Fr S Lourduswamy, executive secretary, Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe/Backward Caste Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, told reporters on Tuesday that the church would not approach the Pope to broach the matter with the dignitaries he meets here.
“The Pope is our religious head. We do not want him to discuss these things. Moreover, as citizens of India, we will take up the matter on our own with our government,’’ he added. However, he reiterated the need for reservation for Christian Dalits, saying their living conditions were no better than those of Dalit Hindus, Sikhs or Buddhists.
They continue to be socially discriminated against, oppressed and deprived of employment. Of the 24 million Christians in India, 18 million are Dalits, he said.Replying to a question about attacks on missionaries working in tribal areas, Fr Lourduswamy said they were being targeted by vested interests who did not want the tribals to be empowered.
The missionaries encourage the tribals to demand equal treatment and just wages and this was not liked. Meanwhile, expressing sorrow over the devastation caused by the super cyclone in Orissa, the Archbishop of Delhi has decided to contribute Rs one lakh to the Prime Minister’s Orissa relief fund.
Some celebrations during the Pope’s visit, including a dinner for archbishops on November 6, are being curtailed as a token of solidarity for the victims.