By Ashu Peter Mattoo
Jammu, October 10, 2021: The National Dalit Christian Watch (NDCW) on October 9 organized a conference to inculcate a spirit of unanimity among the Dalit Christians in Jammu and Kashmir.
Held at St. Paul Church of North India Church, the meet aimed to ignite the state chapter of Jammu and Kashmir, said Robin Gill, a local organizer.
The discussion started with the prayers led by Pastor Vijay Kumar (priest-in-charge of Jammu Church of North India).
In her first season, Sister Anastasia Gill, a lawyer, and human rights activist, illustrated the vision and mission of NDCW.
Quoting Pope John Paul II, she said, “At all times, you must continue to make certain that special attention is given to those belonging to the lowest castes especially the Dalits, so that they may become an expression of the solidarity of the whole Christian community.”
“We challenge the discrimination of Dalit Christian rights in government based on caste, gender, ethnicity, identity, and social status,” said Sister Gill, a former member of the minority commission of the Delhi government.
She narrated it through real-life incidences. She also made participants understand that Christianity has a history of more than 2000 years. In India, it grew with the arrival of St. Thomas, one of the disciples of Jesus.
Further, she expanded the mission of NDCW, saying, “We challenge the indifference within the Church and out in society. It has become the main cause and hindrance of growth of Dalit Christian in India.”
The nun articulated that the Scheduled Caste status to the Christian community has been pending in the Supreme Court of India for which the fight is going on a national platform. “This calls us to be the part of the same,” she said.
Gill, popularly known as Sister Sneha (which means “love”), ended with the quote of Baba Sahib Ambedkar “to educate, agitate and organize, have faith in yourself.”
Robert Robin Gill led the second session on leadership which he started with a quote, “Leaders are not born, they are made.”
Quoting a verse from the Bible, he said, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever, and does a crown endure to all generations?” (Proverbs 27:23-24).
He continued his session by taking a few points that a good leader should obligate like: self-discipline in one’s life, integrity in one’s deeds, and communication—be open to listening to the needs of people.
He elaborated all these points with real-life incidences and infused the leadership qualities.
After hearing the local issues from the participants, Sister Gill, a member of the Presentation congregation, is committed to working on the issues and demands of the Dalits on the national platform of NDCW.
She facilitated the nomination of the NDCW Chapter team for functioning in Jammu and Kashmir.