Odisha’s Koraput Dalit Christians stand united for equal rights


Semiliguda, Koraput, and June 22, 2021: Koraput Jila Dom Bikas Parishad (KJDBKP or Koraput District Dalit Development Council) has demanded their rights as Dalits.

In a webinar held on June 18, the association asserted its rights as Dalit Christians.

The members of KJDBKP also pledged to play a major role in reviving cultures, promote unity and peace in the region.

“The demand of Koraput Dalit Christians since long is that when people reveal their identity as Christians then they are deprived of reservation or quota to get equal opportunities from the government as Hindu Dalits,” said Pastor Swadesh Bagha, secretary of Koraput District Dalit Development Council.

They love their origin as Dom (Dalit) while accepting Christianity even if they are deprived of government privileges being Christians. The faith in Jesus will lead, guide and direct us to survive in society. We have learned the power of unity and peace of Christ to take any initiative in life, said Pastor Rajendra Dhadka, president of Council.

Koraput Dalit association organized a webinar to revive Dom cultures and traditions which are gradually diminishing influenced by modern cultures and lifestyles.

They also discussed different issues of social, economic and political development.

As many as 35 participants took part in the webinar.

“Tradition contributes a sense of comfort and belonging. It brings families together and enables people to reconnect with friends and others. It reinforces values such as freedom, faith, integrity and good education. It invites personal responsibility, a strong work ethic, and the values of being selfless,” said another pastor Daniel Khora, President of Christian Association, Semiliguda.

The pastors continue to explain that it is important to preserve Dalit cultures because it keeps their integrity.

“Dalit Christians have a major role to play in ‘panchayats’ (village councils) to make awareness programme about the values of our cultures and traditions. Modern youths are easily swayed by the modern style of life which becomes tough to make them understand the values of traditional traits that are unique to Dalits,” Khora said.

Dalit Christians are fighting for 10 years for equal rights, privileges and opportunities. “We pledge to continue to fight for our right,” said Khora, Pastor of Grace of God Church, Semiliguda.

“Our people do not get a certificate as Dom Christians. But the certificate is available if they mention Hindu,” he said.

About 95% percent of Koraput people belong to Dom Christians.

They encourage Dalit Christians to represent their cause seeking a seat as a Member of Parliament (MP) and Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA).

Discrimination towards Dom Christian in Koraput with regards to issuing the certificate is obvious,” said Pastor Swadesh Bagha, secretary of Koraput District Dalit Development Council.

“We are firm in faith in Jesus. We cannot deny Jesus to get the certificate even if we are deprived of some privileges from the government,” said Bagha.

According to the 2011 census, the population of Koraput is 1379647, out of which the Scheduled Caste Male include 96789 and female 99751.


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