Christians in India excluded from national survey

.- Christian leaders in India are protesting the decision of the National Commission for Minorities, after it intentionally left out the minority Christian community from a national survey of educational status. The survey includes three other minority groups in India — Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis.

The Global Council of Indian Christians has called it a “deliberate sleight to the just cause of Christian minorities in India.”

“If ever proof was needed of anti-Christian bias of government institutions in India, one need look no further than this,” said council president Sajan George.

The Christian Dalits of India have been asking for a government study on their status for years, said George, but none has been done.

“But other minority communities such as Parsis and Sikhs who are among the elites in business and employment in the country, are being studied for their educational status,” he said.

Christians are among the poorest in India. The 2004-05 figures released Friday by the Employment and Unemployment Situation among Major Religious Groups in India indicate that unemployment is highest among Christians, in both rural and urban areas of the country, compared with Hindus and Muslims.

The unemployment rate among the Christians was 4.4 per cent, despite having the highest literacy rate. Urban Christian women had the highest unemployment rate at 14 per cent.

The Global Council of Indian Christians is demanding that the National Commission for Minorities look into the just demands and the status of the Dalit Christians. The council says if the government fails to address the injustice and violence experienced by Christians in India, its moral right to continue in power is seriously compromised.

“The only way to redeem itself is to take immediate action to correct the constitutional improprieties that are permitted to continue,” George said. “Anything less will only add to the already long list of injustice meted out to Christians in India, and will serve to reinforce the image of India as an anachronism in the 21st century, where the government is driven by medieval belief systems and elemental biases rather than justice, constitutional rights, and the values of good governance.”

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