Social Discrimination against Dalit Christians
Overwhelmingly, the mistreatment comes from Hindu society - in our village, in our working place, from our landlord, at our village school , the village well, and the village shop. 85% of the Dalit Christians continue to live in the same segregated place, the same "CHERI" or COLONY or SLUM, even two generations after becoming Christians. A DALIT IS NOT GIVEN THE LUXURY OF A NEW ENVIRONMENT. A Dalit works in the same village, for the same wages, for the same masters, enduring the same tyranny and abuse, beatings and killings. His wife and daughter face the same molestation, rape and burning of huts and killing of children. Except for the (wrong) records in the revenue offices, he or she remains a Dalit in every sense of the word - ethnically, linearly, racially, socially, economically, culturally, vocationally, geographically, relationally, contextually and emotionally. When Irulappan becomes Arulappan, his DNA does not change. (Irulappan is a Hindu-sounding name : Arulappan sounds Christian.)
Actually, he encounters more torture and persecution now because he is a CHRISTIAN . The masters of the Dalit slave do not relish the idea of a Dalit rising into anything that can point to an end of the eternal slavery.
The slaughter, rape or burnings of Veerambal (1955), Chundur (1993), Neerukonda Saukarankularn (G.O.1 402, July 76) Villupuram (11 Dec. 1980), Karamchedu (March 88), Kodiangulam (Oct. 95) and hundreds of other Dalit villages where almost all victims were CHRISTIAN DALITS is irrefutable evidence to the fact of atrocity.
Through this traditional practice of untouchability, the Dalit Christians suffer social, educational and economic disabilities on a par with Dalits of other religions. . The change of religion does not change the social, educational and economical status.
These facts have been unmistakably established by observations carried out by the various Commissions on the Backward Classes appointed by the Government of India and by judgements rendered in the High Courts and in the Supreme Court.
Denial of justice on the basis of religion negates the secular nature of the State.
" . to deny them (Scheduled Castes) the Constitutional protection of reservation solely by reason of change of faith or religion is to endanger the very concept of Secularism and the raison d' ^etre of reservations. (Art. 271 of the Mandal Case Judgment. Cf. Page No: 367, Vol. 6, No: 9, November 30, 1992, Judgment Today)
Caste cuts across barriers of Religions
So sadly and oppressively deep-rooted is caste in our country that it has cut across even the barriers of religions... The caste system has penetrated other religions and dissenting Hindu sects to whom the practice of caste should be anathema. Today we find that Hindu dissentients and practitioners of other religious faiths are sometimes just as rigid in adherence to the system of caste as the conservative Hindus. We find Christian Dalit, Christian Nadars, Christian Reddys, Christian Kammas, and Mujbi Sikhs .(Art. 469 Mandal Case Judgments, Page 450, Vol. 6, No: 9, November 30,1992, Judgments Today. Here, slightly edited.) Centuries-long caste oppression would not disappear by a mere change of religion Even among the other religious groups in this country, the division of society between the high and the low castes is only be expected. Almost all followers of the non-Hindu religions, apart from those of the Zoroastrians, are converts from the Hindu religion. Into the new religion they have carried with them their caste. It is hardly to be expected that the social prejudices and biases , the notions and feelings of superiority and inferiority, nurtured for centuries on end, would disappear by a mere change of religion (Cf. Art. 478 Mandal case Judgment, Vol. C, November 30,1992, Judgment Today. Here, slightly edited.) Castes not confined to Hindus alone.
" .The concept of "Caste" in this behalf (reservation) is not confined to castes among Hindus. It extends to castes wherever they obtain as a fact, irrespective of religious sanction for such practice...") Art. 798, Mandal Case Judgment Vol. 6, November 30,1992, Judgment Today). Casteism is the bane of the entire Indian Society
"...The Change of religion did not always succeed in eliminating castes. The converts carried with them their castes and occupations to the new religions. The result has been that even among Sikhs, Muslims and Christians, casteism prevails in varying degrees in practice, their preachings not withstanding. Casteism has thus been the bane of entire Indian society, the difference in its rigidity being of a degree varying from religion to religion". (Art. 400, Mandal Case Judgment, Vol. 6, No:9, November 30,1992, Judgment Today). Christianity does not preach the caste system, but casteism is practised among Christians
"Though Christianity also does not recognize caste system, there are upper and lower caste among Christians. In Goa, for example, there are upper caste Catholic Brahmins who do not marry Christians belonging to the lower castes. In many churches, the low caste Christians have to sit apart from the high caste Christians. In Andhra Pradesh, there are Christian Dalit, Christian Malas, Christian Reddys, Christian Kammas, etc. In Tamil Nadu, converts to Christianity form Scheduled Castes - Latin Catholics, Christian Shanars, and Christian Gramani are in the list of Scheduled Castes. Such instances are many and vary from region to region. (Art. 477, Mandal Case Judgment, Vol. 6, No:9, November 30, 1992, Judgment Today).