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Dalit Christians Observe 'Black Day'
New Delhi: Christians in India observed “black day” Friday to protest denial of equal rights to their dalit brethren.
“Justice delayed is justice denied, we can no longer wait,” said Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi, who led some 200 people in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Church.
The protesters carried black flags as they demanded statutory benefits to dalit Christians and Muslims.
The protest took place ten day after Christians and Mulims rallied in New Delhi on the issue.
Alwan Masih, general secretary of the Protestant Church of North India, said all are equal under the Indian Constitution and “if the nation is to develop, all communities will have to progress.”
He said that he is hopeful that justice would be done for dalit Christians.
For more than six decades, Christian and Muslim groups have demanded statutory benefits for their dalit brethren.
A Sanskrit word, dalit literally means “trampled upon.”
The Indian Constitution allows quotas in educational institutions and government jobs for dalit members of castes once considered “untouchable,” to help them advance socially and economically.
However, Christians and Muslims are excluded from these benefits on the ground that their religions reject casteism.
Sister Ann Moyalan, coordinator of the Justice Peace Commission in Delhi archdiocese said, “We still have a long way to go as many Christians are ignorant about the protest and have to be made aware.”
The day was observed across India with people protesting in front of the central government offices and post offices.
The protest was jointly organised by the National Council of Churches in India, Catholic Bishops Conference of India and National Council of Dalit Christians.
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