Dalit Christians, Muslims stage protest for SC status

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New Delhi, Dec 11: Scores of Dalit Christians and Muslims today staged a protest at Jantar Mantar here demanding speedy implementation of the recommendations of Ranganath Misra Commission granting SC status to them.

Several demonstrators, including Archbishop Anil J T Couto and many other bishops and nuns, were detained and taken to Parliament Street police station but were released after some time.

Police also used water canon to control the demonstrators. The protesters were demanding the governemnt to strike down the Presidential (SC) order of 1950 which denies equal rights to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin, according to a statement released by Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.

"The law itself is unconstitutional and while the government after government have been turning a deaf ear to the demand of Christians, now they are going to the extent of brutally beating up our priests and nuns and now arresting us too," Archbishop Anil J T Couto said.

During the protest, jointly organised by Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and National Council of Dalit Christians (NCDC), the agitators demanded deletion of the paragraph 3 of the Constitution (SC) Order to "make the Scheduled Caste net fully religion-neutral like that of the Scheduled Tribe".

The protesters alleged that police lathi-charged them and said that they would press criminal case against the cops for their "brutal" action.

PTI

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