Dalits Christians in India want equal rights

By July 7, 2005

India (MNN) — Dalits in India are considered the low caste of society, the untouchables. Despite that, as Hindus, they do have certain rights, but as soon as they turn away from Hinduism that all changes. Dalit Christians are fighting that in the nation’s Supreme Court.

Operational Mobilization’s Director of South India, Kumar Swami, is a Dalit Christian. Swami says, “If a Dalit from a Hindu background comes to Jesus Christ, the government of India says he will lose all the benefits, what we call, ‘reservation rights.'” That means they can lose their jobs, educational opportunities and more.

According to Swami, that knowledge is a deterrent in Dalit evangelism. However, The Indian Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling in August on an equal rights petition. “We are hoping the (current) bill will be amended. I think it is scheduled around August 25th or so and we’re hoping that it will go positively as we are mobilizing and lobbying with members of parliament and other political leaders.”

If that happens, it could mean positive things for evangelism among the Dalits. “The only hitch sometimes they feel is that they will lose all their benefits and affirmative action in terms of job and education. If only the government of India awards them this status that will pave the way for a good number of Dalits to come to Christ.”

These believers are launching out and are spearheading demonstrations, lobbying for a positive ruling. Swami believes this new attention will also have a negative impact. “We anticipate on-going acceleration of atrocities against Dalit Christians as it’s happening right now.”

Pray for protection for the estimated 20-million Christian Dalits in India. Pray, too, for a positive decision from the Supreme Court.

Leave a Reply