‘One million post cards campaign’ launched to press for inclusion of Dalit Christians & Muslims in SC

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,
New Delhi: A national one million post card campaign for the inclusion of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Schedule Caste was launched on today afternoon at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in the national capital.
A civil petition is pending for eight years in the Supreme Court from 2004 challenging the validity of a 1950 order, which in third paragraph says, “No person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste.”

The government has sought, at least on eight occasions, time from the Apex Court for replying, but has not submitted any response to the matter, delaying the issue.
To press their demand Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), along with National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and National Council for Dalit Christians (NCDC) today formally launched a nationwide post-card campaign, which has already begun since February 13 at Kanyakumari.
The campaigners plan to post ‘at least 100 post-cards each everyday’ to the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Advocate Franklin C. Thomas, National Coordinator of the NCDC said, “Since the issue is politicized, besides legal procedures, we will also have to politically move.” Organizers urged the UPA Government to at least file a reply, whether in positive or in negative, and not allow the matter to perpetually delay.

Campaigners accused the government of “selective discrimination” against Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims by seeking caste census as it was not sought during inclusion of Dalit Sikhs and new-Buddhists in the SC.
Rev. Neethinathan, Chairperson of CBCI, added that the postcards campaign is to show the government that it’s a mass movement, and not confined to few individuals and that if the government does not wake up to their demands, 2014 general elections will be the test ground for them.
The post-card was jointly launched by Rev. Neethinathan of CBCI, Rev. PP Marandih and Alwan Masih of Church of North India, Rt. Rev. Probal Kanto Dutta, Chairperson of Commission on Policy, Governance and Public, NCCI and Dr Mary John, President of NCDC. First post card was signed by Ms Lourdu Mary.
Advocate Franklin told TCN that they are in touch with several Muslim groups and individuals, championing the causes of the Pasmanda Muslims, and they hope to extend the campaign to include them as well.


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