We are aware that on the 10th of August every year, we remember our demand to include Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Caste list. This year, we have designated it as the National Protest Day to protest against this injustice meted out to a section of Indian citizens. You are also aware that in 2013, National Council of Churches in India has filed an impleading application in the Supreme Court of India in the Civil Writ petition (180/2004) which is pending before the Hon’ble Court. In January 2020, the Supreme Court of India agreed to examine the plea to make reservations “religion neutral” so that Dalit Christians and Muslims too can benefit. The plea is pending before the court.
On 10th of August we remember, the infamous Presidential (Scheduled Caste) Order 1950 which was signed 71 years ago by the then President of India, which says “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the scheduled caste” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. On account of this, Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin continue to be kept out of the Scheduled Caste list thereby denying them privileges in education, getting scholarships, employment opportunities, right to contest in the reserved constituencies, availing legal remedy/protection under SC and ST (Prevention) of Atrocities Act 1989 as amended in 2018, and such other affirmative actions. This is clear discrimination against Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims based on religion, and a violation of the freedom of religion and belief which is guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
We realize that our 71 years of struggle for justice should be supported by all people who believe in equality and democracy. The Supreme Court has a monumental opportunity now to render justice to millions of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims who continue to suffer from social stigma and the horrors of un-touchability.
Dear Outcast Lord,
Open our eyes, that we who seek to follow You may recognize Your face in the faces of those who are been denied privileges in education, getting scholarships, employment opportunities, right to contest in the reserved constituencies, availing legal remedy / protection under SC and ST (Prevention) of Atrocities Act and such other affirmative actions.
Open our ears, that we who seek to hear Your Word, may recognize Your love in the stories which are often drowned out.
Open our hearts, that we who seek Your way of life may be bold in witnessing to Your longing for justice and Equality.
Lord, we often hear it said that ‘The Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims suffer from social stigma and the horrors of untouchability.’ ‘It’s what they’re used to… they’re not like us.’ ‘I don’t want to think about it – it makes me depressed.’ ‘It’s the world – you can’t change it.’
Response: Give us the courage then to say ‘Your Kingdom Come.’ Amen.