Cong in favour of reservation for all Dalits: Shivraj Patil

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Kochi, Dec 16: The Congress favours granting reservation to all Dalits, regardless of their religion, and is in the process of initiating steps to this end, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil has told Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) president Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil.

The assurance came during a nearly two-hour meeting at the Varapuzha Archbishop's house here last night, KCBC deputy secretary Fr. Stephen Alathura told the sources oday.

On the Archbishop's suggestion that the government set up a committee along the lines of the Sachar Committee to study the status of the Christian community, the Minister said the government would consider it.

Mr Patil, who had dinner with the KCBC president, arrived at Archbishop Acharuparambil's house at around 2000 hrs.

During discussions lasting about half an hour, Archbishop Acharuparambil conveyed to the Minister the concerns of the community, particularly with regard to moves by the Kerala government to ''encroach upon minorities' educational rights'' and attacks on Christian institutions in North India.

According to Fr Alathura, Mr Patil assured the Archbishop on both counts. The Centre would safeguard minority rights and give directions to the Kerala government to protect minorities in the State. Protection would be given to Christian institutions facing attacks in the North, he added.

After the discussions, Mr Patil had dinner with the Archbishop and left at around 2130 hrs.


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