India Supreme Court delays Dalit ruling

By December 4, 2007

India (MNN) – India's Supreme Court has again delayed a ruling on the civil rights of the Christian Dalits. The Court planned to issue a decision last week but took no action.   

They're blaming the country's National Scheduled Caste Commission for not presenting their findings before the court. Many of the "Untouchables" lose their civil rights when they choose to follow Christ.   

The case, filed in 2004 by India's Center for Public Interest Litigation, seeks an amendment to a 57-year-old law restricting Dalit Christians from participating in India's reservation system. This affirmative action program was instituted in 1950 when the caste system was outlawed.

Along with other legal protections, the law sets aside a percentage of government jobs and college enrollment slots for Dalits. The goal of the program is to help Dalits climb out of the centuries of caste-defined abuse.

However, the program was amended to limit those rights to Dalits who follow the Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh religions, which are dominant in India. Christianity and Islam are the only faiths excluded from the reservation benefits.

The Supreme Court will conduct another hearing on this case in 2008. No matter the eventual outcome of the court case, Gospel for Asia missionaries remain committed to reaching the Dalits.

K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia, is urging believers around the world to pray for the outcome of the case.

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