By DCD Reporter
A Zoom meeting of the AFDCL was organised on March 30 to discuss the present situation of Dalit Christians and to plan for the future in which 20 Dalit Christian leaders participated.
The participants came from the Catholic, Church of South India, Lutheran and Independent Churches including Rev. Dr. Vincent Manoharan, former Convener of the National Dalit Christian Watch (NDCW), Dr. Richard Devadoss, the present Interim Convener of NDCW, Shibi Peter, National Coordinator, NDCW; and Sr. Robancy A Helen, the Coordinator of the Dalit Christian Digest participated.
The future strategy which emerged was addressing the issues of discrimination of Dalit Christians at various levels within the Church; and capacity building of Dalit Christian Youth for future leadership with the Church.
There is the natural convergence of the objectives of the Alternative Front for Dalit Christian Liberation (AFDCL), which been functioning in Tamil Nadu since 2014, and NDCW.
Both address the issues of discrimination of Dalt Christians at various levels within the Church and capacity building of Dalit Christian Youth for future leadership within the Church. Since the members of AFDCL are also actively involved in the programmes of NDCW, it was unanimously decided at the April 30 virtual meeting that AFDCL and NDCW should be synonymous with each other.
While as AFDCL the focus will be more on State level involvement; as NDCW the thrust will be on coordinating and participating in the initiatives and progammes of NDCW at both the State and National levels.
With this understanding, the Tamil Nadu chapter of NDCW was launched. Advocate Baskar, a longstanding Dalit and Dalit Christian Activist was unanimously resolved to be the State Convener of both AFDCL and NDCW.
The core team will consist of Advocate Baskar, Rev Manoharan, and Dr Devadoss; which will function as a think tank and provide direction to AFDCL and NDCW Tamil Nadu Chapter.
An orientation and advocacy team consisting of Sr. Robancy, Adv. Pandian, Rev. Jacob Belly, Earnest Nelson, An Idea Sekar, Shibi Peter, and Adv. Baskar, the State Convener was formed for capacity building of Dalit Christian youth, and for advocacy and lobbying to claim the entitlements of Dalit Christians, and rights earmarked for minorities.