COMMISSION FOR SCHEDULED CASTES/TRIBES AND BACKWARD CLASSES
A Report Submitted to IV National Committee YESU KRIST JAYANTI 2000, Bangalore, 3-4th June, 1998
CBCI Commission for SC/ST/BC has been inspiring, educating the people for the empowerment of Dalit/Tribals and Backward Classes. In spite of condemnation by CBCI and the repeated appeals by the individual Bishops, the Dalit Christians who form the majority of believers in India are discriminated against, humiliated, and even victimised. The message of CBCI General Body meeting held at Varanasi has declared that discrimination on the basis of caste is a sin against God and humanity and the caste system will be removed from the Christian community totally as part of our preparation for Yesu Krist Jayanti 2000. It has also proposed action plans to be implemented in all Dioceses.
1. The Commission has decided to monitor the implementation of the following action plans in the Dioceses to eradicate discrimination and promote a genuinely spirit-filled Christian community.
I. Abolishing Discrimination
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 substations 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.
a. Identify cemeteries which are wholly or in part reserved for section of believers based on caste. If they cannot be thrown open to all, then arrange for new common cemeteries for all the groups.
b. Wherever the practice of
having a separate hearse for each caste is in operation, ensure that
common hearse (TUMBA) is used by all with no reservation or distinction.
a. Take effective steps to appoint Dalit members in the administration of the Church and related organisations according to the proportion of Dalit population.
b. Work at having reservation policy for the Dalits/Tribals in the diocesan/religious institutions.
c. Make efforts to recruit candidates of Dalit origin for priesthood and religious life in keeping with their numerical strength.
d. The celebration of Jubilee 2000 may be 'postponed' until the true brotherhood and equality is practiced by all the faithful of a parish and religious communities.
II. COMMISSION'S PLAN FOR FUTURE ACTION.
I. Awareness Education for Community Development
a. To motivate all the sections in the Church and in society to understand the reality and to work for the Integrated Development of Dalit/Tribal Catholics.
b. To use print media, electronic media and prayer services to conscientise people to eradicate discrimination.
C. To facilitate SC/ST/BC Catholics to utilise available non-statutory and statutory benefits of OBC in the state and centre by publishing booklets containing Government G.Os and schemes.
d. To form a development forum composed of Bishops, Dalit/Tribal leaders and representatives of Regional CRI, Multipurpose societies, commissions, other bodies etc. to monitor the implementation of programmes for the development of Dalit/Tribals.
2. Efforts for Equal Rights to Dalit Christians
Justice to Dalit Christians is not found in the agenda of BJP coalition Govt. While making promises to protect the existing percentage of reservation, the long-pending demand for the extension of reservation is forgotten. Of the constituents of BJP alliance some supported our demand and we hope they still hold it. Congress and U.F. have already expressed their support in action.
The Government has assured charter of social justice, empowerment of Dalit and equal rights to all religions in its governance Agenda. Thus we could still continue to struggle for equal rights to Dalit Christians. The strategy could be why one section of Dalits are refused empowerment, social justice, equal rights on the basis of religion.
a. To release a booklet, answering all the questions of BJP and Dalit leaders in order to convince them to render justice.
b. To make scientific survey by Institute of Developmental studies on socio, economic and educational disabilities of Dalit Christians in India to strengthen our case.
C. To involve in lobbying in Delhi in order to persuade the supporters who are in ruling party alliance as well as in other parties to press the Govt. to extend equal rights.
d. To consolidate the strength of secular movements and human right associations, N.G.Os (Non-Goverenment Organisations) and our own Christian youth forums to intensify the struggle.
e. To convince the Dalit leaders by collaboration and cooperation in the struggle for justice to all Dalits.
3. Education for Employment
Intensive Coaching for Employment aims at training SC/ST Catholics to obtain IAS, IPS and Executive jobs in order to uplift the Dalits/Tribals and the oppressed community.
200 students have been trained in 4 centres, Madurai, Kottayam, Ranchi and Hyderabad. Job is ensured for these students. Though only few passed the UPSC Civil Services Exam, many are employed in Public and Private Sectors.
Hence this comprehensive formation will be continued and established permanently for the sustained development of the depressed community.
May I request all members of National Committee to take a pledge that all these action plans are realised in your regions.
(FR. S. LOURDUSWAMY)