Wednesday, July 6, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Dalits ‘are converting to Hinduism’

Dalits 'are converting to Hinduism'

Published Date: July 4, 2011

Bishop Anthony Poola of Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh says many Dalit
Christians are converting to Hinduism because they are being denied
benefits resulting from scheduled caste (SC) status.

Unlike their Hindu counterparts, Dalit Christians are not given
reservation quotas on jobs, elected bodies, in educational
institutions or other benefits, he said.

The prelate said the primary thing that identifies an Indian is his
caste and that one's religion does not change one's caste.

Bishop Poola was speaking at a July 1 seminar in Hyderabad entitled:
Dalit Christian Issues, which was attended by the chief minister, N
Kiran Kumar Reddy, and federal minister for health and family welfare,
Ghulam Nabi Azad.

About 230 Christians, including local lawmakers, bishops, priests,
pastors and members of the public, were also present.

He regretted the Bharatiya Janata (Indian People's) Party's refusal to
support the Christian cause and the Congress Party's silence over the

B Danam, a retired civil servant said Dalit Christians do not register
as Christians because they fear losing SC privileges and violent

"By not giving us SC status you are giving others the opportunity to
discriminate against us," said J. D. Saleem, a Dalit lawmaker.

He said the government should introduce a bill giving SC status to
Dalit Christians in the monsoon session of parliament, which begins on
August 1.

The southern state's chief minister said that wouldn't be an easy task
and citing the struggle to get legislation giving more rights to women

However, he said "the government has the will and so I am sure that
positive results will be in your favor."

Regarding violence against Christians, he said "we will come down hard
on attacks against Christians anywhere in our state."


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