Pics: Stanly Bantwal
Mangaluru Aug 10: The Social and Media Committee of the Mangalore Diocesan Pastoral Parishad held a demonstration in front of D.K. D.C.s office on August 10th at 3.30 pm. demanding amendment of Constitutional Order 1950 (Scheduled Caste) in order to include Dalit Christians also in the Scheduled Caste.
The Catholic Bishop’s Conference (CBCI) of India, New Delhi office for SC/BC observes August 10th as ‘BLACK DAY’ to protest against the unjust Constitutional Order 1950 which excludes Dalit Christians from the SC list on the basis of religion. It can be recalled that the Constitutional Order 1950 (Scheduled Caste) was amended in 1956 to include the Sikhs and in 1990 to include the Buddhists.
Msgr Denis Moras Prabhu the Vicar General of the diocese of Mangalore in his message urged the Government of India to take up the issue as early as possible and do justice to the people who have been deprived of their rights for the last seven decades.
Dr Vincent Alva, the Principal of St Mary’s degree College Milagres Kallianpur said, ‘if yes for them, why not for us?’ is the question asked today all over India on behalf of the Dalit Christians regarding their exclusion from the SC list and that is the reason why August 10th is observed as BLACK DAY. The then President of India Babu Rajendra Prasad signed the Constitution Order 1950 because of which people coming under SC category are entitled to certain facilities which the SC Christians are deprived of because of their faith. Hence it is our demand that they too should be included in this category. The SC facilities are extended to the SIKH and Buddhist communities but Christians and Muslims are kept out from this privilege. Is it not injustice, he asked.
Mr M. P. Noronha reputed lawyer and the Secretary of Diocesan Pastoral Parishad said that exclusion of Dalit Christians in the SC list is violation of Article 14, 15, 19 and 25. When the Scheduled Tribe don’t lose their status when religion is changed why the Scheduled Castes should be denied the same. The Constitution Order 1950 is amended in 1990 to include the converts to Buddhism. Hence it is injustice to deny this privilege to the Dalits who embrace Christianity. According to Article 14 all Indians are equal. If that is so why there is discrimination when it comes to Dalit Christians? If is injustice to deny privileges just because one changes the faith. We hear a lot about Uniform Civil Code. Now is the opportune time for the Government to treat all Dalits to treat equally irrespective of their faith. Hence the Government should amend the Constitution 1950 to include Dalit Christians in the list he said.
Followed by the BLACK DAY demonstration a memorandum was submitted to the D.K. D.C. office to be forwarded to the Honourable President and Prime Minister of India.
Fr Onil D’Souza, the convener of Social and Media Committee of the Diocesan Pastoral Parishad gave brief introduction on the purpose of organizing the demonstration and welcomed the dignitaries and the assembled people.
Fr Peter Gonsalves the Asst. director of St Anthony’s Institutes Jeppu compeered the programme.