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Commission Rejects Affirmative Action for Christian Dalits

Contact: Taun Cortado, Gospel for Asia, 972-300-7777 ext 3120,  


NEW DELHI, India, Mar. 15 /Standard Newswire/ -- The National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (NCSC/ST) recently rejected the demand for affirmative-action benefits for Dalit Christians and Muslims. The committee denied the need for the benefits on the grounds that "untouchability," the main criteria for the benefits, only affected Hindu Dalits.


Some Christian organizations in India conducted rallies opposing the decision. They also submitted letters petitioning various government officials to ignore the commission's rejection.


In 2005, the Supreme Court requested that the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) conduct an investigation and complete a report concerning the need for affirmative-action benefits for Dalit Christians and Muslims. Following the investigation, the commission will submit a report to the Supreme Court. Yet after two years of "investigation," no report has been filed.


Key official, Justice Ranganath Misra, who is chairman of both commissions, the NCSC/ST and the NCRLM received one of the petition letters. Many Christian groups are concerned that because Justice Misra is chairman of both commissions, the NCRLM's report submitted to the Supreme Court will also reject the need for affirmative-action benefits for Dalit Christians.


The caste system was officially abolished in 1950, yet it still directs most of Indian society. Affirmative-action benefits in India are currently only awarded to Hindu, Sikh, Jain and Buddhist Dalits, and these Dalits lose their benefits when they become Christians.


The demand for Scheduled Caste status for Christians is still pending before the Supreme Court of India. Many commissions and important government departments have strongly recommended Scheduled Caste status for Dalit Christians based on the fact that they experience the same socio-economic disabilities as other Dalits.


"When the court rules in favor of the Christians, it will be like a dam bursting. The possibility is that 300 million 'Untouchables' who have been living in slavery will at last find their way to freedom and hope," said GFA President K.P. Yohannan. "This is the last barrier to them moving out of the oppression of the Hindu caste system."


With headquarters in Carrollton, Texas, Gospel for Asia is one of the fastest-growing church-planting ministries in South Asia. More than 16,000 native missionaries are now serving and have planted more than 29,000 churches in 10 nations across Asia. For more information visit: 


Note: to schedule an interview with GFA President K.P. Yohannan, please contact Taun Cortado at 972-300-7777 ext 3120 or email at: