Religious minority leaders urge PM Manmohan Singh for equal rights for Dalits
New Delhi: A delegation of religious minority leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Parliament House, demanding reservation for Christian and Muslim Dalits.
MPs, including Minister of State for Finance JD Seelam (Congress), D Raja (CPI), and Vasanthi Stanley (DMK) accompanied the delegation.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi said they placed before the Prime Minister their request for justice to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
The minority groups have been demanding that the government strike down the Presidential (SC) order of 1950 which denies equal rights to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin.
"The Prime Minister listened to us with all frankness and complete concern for the issue...He has promised to place the issue before the Cabinet and do whatever he can in his power to see that the issue is resolved," Couto said.
The Archbishop said the delegation also complained to the Prime Minister about the detention of several Christians and Muslims who staged a "peaceful" march to Parliament House yesterday demanding reservation for their brethren from Dalit groups.
"He (the Prime Minister) asked pardon for what happened yesterday," Couto said.
CPI leader Raja said the issue now is before the Prime Minister and the government.
"He (Singh) said he would take up the matter in the Cabinet...We hope the Prime Minister with all sincerity will take up the issue and help Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims to have Constitutional protection," he said.