News portal gives voice to India’s Dalit Christians

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Dalit Christian Digest aims to promote equality in the Church and society

A group of Dalit Christian leaders has launched a news portal to bring their socially poor community’s voice, challenges, and success stories to national and international attention.

The Indian Bishops’ office for socially poor Dalit Christians has launched a news portal to bring their voice, challenges, and success stories to national and international attention.

The news portal named Dalit Christian Digest was launched online by Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak, chairperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes on Dec. 9.

“It is the need of the hour for Dalit Christians to share their realities of pain, passion, and accomplishment; to voice their demands for equality, dignity, and justice; and to claim their rightful spaces in the various ministries and missions of the Church,” Bishop Nayak of Berhampur Diocese said during the opening remarks of the webinar.

“The vision of Dalit Christian Digest is to promote equality in the Church and society as all humans are created in the image and likeness of God,” he said.

“The Dalit Christians, the sons and daughters of the soil, have been demanding their right to be treated equally in the Church and society,” the prelate said.

Meanwhile, the struggle of Dalit Christians and Muslims continue their struggle to be treated equally with the Dalit people of other religions. A Presidential Order in 1950 reserved social benefits meant for Dalit people only to Dalit of Hindus, considering the caste system as a Hindu reality.    

The order was amended to restore the privileges to Sikhs (1956) and to Buddhists (1990), but Christians and Muslims are denied these benefits saying their religions are caste free.

Different commissions appointed by the government have clearly said a change of religion does not change social and economic realities. They have also recommended that Dalit among Christians and Muslims should be included in the list of beneficiaries.

Dalits, the former untouchables, are the lowest caste within Hindu society. Huge numbers of Dalits have converted to Christianity and Islam over the decades, but the religions offer limited protection from societal prejudice.

Credit: UCA News

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