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Why SC status 'denied' to Dalit Christians, Muslims, but given to Sikhs, Buddhists?

Counterview Desk 

The All India Catholic Union (AICU), making several demands to government to end “targeting” of minorities by state and non-state agencies, has regretted that scheduled caste (SC) status is being denied to to Muslims and Christians of Dalit origin, even though these are given to Sikhs and Buddhists.
In a statement, AICU said, “The past seven and a half years have seen a new narrative thrust upon us: the conflation of nationalism with religious identity that automatically alienates and isolates minorities. One Nation, One Culture, One People is now been vigorously implemented.”
AICU underlined, “Christian communities have seen a drastic increase of organised and systematic persecution against them with the intent of uprooting them.” It added, “Social ostracization in villages in several States, the attempted eradication of village churches and attacks on clergy are avowed aspects of an attempt towards annihilating them completely.”

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As the nation approaches 75 years of its Independence from colonial rule, its religious and ethnic communities, its Dalits and women face a daunting challenge of safeguarding their human rights and civil liberties, enshrined in the Constitution and in United Nations treaties, from mal-governance and the onslaught of majoritarian non-state actors.
The systematic erosion of national institutions, including the office of governor, the bureaucracy, the police and the judicial system specially at the district and State levels, has compounded the crisis. Fake news, some of it state sponsored, falsification and misrepresentation of data including that of deaths in the Covid pandemic, the political exploitation of relief are an illustrative facet of the developments in recent years.
A more radical experiment is sought to be made in the sphere of education, seeking the entry of political elements in the management of schools in an audacious defiance of Article 30 of the Constitution.
Targeted hate that incites violence, lynch mobs, officially mandated change in the good habits of an entire population as in the case of the Maldives Islands, all of which particularly impact the Muslim community and the persecution of small rural Christian communities in several States have been registered by national and international rights institutions including Minority Commissions and UN bodies.
The AICU Working Committee noted the utter absence of the voice of the affected minority communities in decisions which critically impacted their rights. Major changes were made in several laws without real consultations with representatives of religious communities.
The complicity of police in targeted hate and violence, and the overall sense of impunity displayed by political groups and non-state actors and the use of enforcement agencies have combined o totally mute all voices of dissent, protest. Even plaintive cries for help, restitution and relief have gone unheard.
The past seven and a half years have seen a new narrative thrust upon us: the conflation of nationalism with religious identity that automatically alienates and isolates minorities. “One Nation, One Culture, One People” is now been vigorously implemented.
Christian communities have seen a drastic increase of organised and systematic persecution against them with the intent of uprooting them. Social ostracization in villages in several States, the attempted eradication of village churches and attacks on clergy are avowed aspects of an attempt towards annihilating them completely.
The rapid expansion in the number of stages that have anti-conversion laws, the near total constriction of international aid through Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) channels, two-child conceiving social assistance, and the denial of scheduled caste rights to Muslims and Christians of Dalit origin, though these are given to Sikhs and Buddhists from the same communities, are glaring examples.
There is near total emasculation institutions such as minority commissions. The National Commission for Minorities has made them defunct and redundant.
Such unconstitutional disharmony, promoted under various guises of patriotism, nationalism, religion and economic development, will have to be resisted and refuted collectively. Christians are very much a part of the vast body of citizens across the length and breadth of India who will not allow themselves to be marginalised, or intimidated.
AICU is deeply concerned at attempts to control minority schools, eroding of Article 30 of Constitution in defiance of Supreme Court rulings
The right to ‘Freedom of Religion” has been enshrined in the Constitution under Articles 25-28 by our founders. We have a common heritage, a collective history. More than would be apparent in our numbers, we have contributed much towards the social, educational and development the country. Our sons and brothers have achieved martyrdom in combat.
This meeting of the AICU working committee therefore endorses the demands of the Christian community, raised in Parliament, State assemblies, and in public demonstrations, rallies and meetings with the highest levels of the national political leadership. These are as follows:
  1. Christians of Dalit origin must be given the same right and protection of the law under the SC ST Act as s given to the Hindu, Buddhist, and Sikh communities if social justice and equal rights have any meaning.
  2. We are deeply concerned at attempts to control minority schools, eroding of Article 30 of the Constitution in defiance of Supreme Court rulings. The latest such case is in Gujarat.
  3. The rescinding of Anti conversion laws which are now in the service of targeted hate persecution.
  4. Scholarship an issue across nation - without dividing minorities, scholarships and other concessions must be seen to be just
  5. In MNREGA and other rural schemes care must be taken to ensure there is no discrimination. Covid poverty amelioration schemes must not leave out minorities
  6. Hate speech, social media targeting of all minorities and specially us, must be checked
  7. All representative commissions including national and State human rights, minorities, women commissions be revived and vacancies filled up ensuring proper representation
  8. The meeting of the AICU WCM also called upon religious congregations and church leaders to work closely together to train youth for all competitive examinations. They must also set up mechanisms to closely monitor developments that impact religious minorities.

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