India's Christian outcasts plan massive hunger strike for equal rights
By Marianne Medlin

.- Thousands of Dalit Christians and Muslims known as the “untouchables” or “slumdogs” of India will gather in the streets of New Delhi to protest for equal societal rights.

From July 25-27, over 5,000 local Muslims and Christians of all denominations will fast publicly, and on July 28, march to the palace of India's federal parliament.

The Dalits or “outcasts” are on the lowest level of the social scale in India. Although the country has formally abolished the caste system, it still lives on in cultural practice and social institutions.

Next week's massive protest has been organized by the National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christians, the National Council of Dalit Christians, and the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India.

At a population of over 250 million people, Dalits comprise nearly one-quarter of India’s society. According to the international advocacy group the Dalit Freedom Network, the group constitutes the largest number of people categorized as victims of modern-day slavery. They also live at the highest risk of violence and human trafficking in the country.

The term “Dalit” translates to “those who have been broken down deliberately by those above them in the social hierarchy.”

Although all Dalits face discrimination in India, Christians and Muslims encounter additional hardships.

The upcoming protests will call on the government to revise current law to extend equal constitutional rights to Dalit Christians and Muslims.

According to paragraph three of India's Constitution or “Scheduled Castes Order,” the law only grants economic, educational and social advancements for Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh Dalits.

Organizers say that because of the the stigmas of untouchability and prejudice, Dalit Christians and Muslims are denied limitless societal opportunities.

But the Catholic bishops of India have said that a bigger obstacle than the constitution is the unwillingness of the country's leaders to extend basic rights to Christian and Mulsim Dalits.

“From what is happening in the political corridor, it is rather evident that it is not the Constitutional mandate which is a hurdle, but the lack of genuine political will of the ruling elite of the country to uphold and concede the Constitutional rights to the Muslim and Christian Dalits,” the bishops wrote in a June 22 online post.

The bishops expressed hope, however, that the protests will increase pressure on government leaders and secure constitutional change.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: