In India, Christian Dalits have been discriminated against for centuries with impunity. On December 4, they chose to demonstrate to the sound of drums to make their voices heard.
Ln December 4, the Dalits (untouchables) demonstrated peacefully in the streets of the Indian capital New Delhi to protest against the social discrimination they suffer on a daily basis. Dancing to the sound of drums, they wanted to challenge the Indian government, as stated Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India:
“If you don't listen to our voices, at least listen to our drums. "
In India, the caste system is still in place. The population is divided into several castes: priests, warriors, traders and farmers. On the fringes of this society, the Dalits do not belong to any of them. They have to confine themselves to menial tasks and have very few fundamental rights. The condition of these untouchables is not enviable, yet within them, that of Muslims and Christians is even worse. While a 1950 presidential ordinance is supposed to guarantee certain rights, they are excluded. The father A.Arputharaj, organizer of the event in Pondicherry and Cuddalore expresses himself as follows:
“The government comes and goes, and we only get false promises. Several rallies and protest marches in the past were unnecessary. Now we are playing the drums to wake up the sleeping government. "
"Trampled". This is the meaning of the Sanskrit word dalit. And this is what happens to Dalit Christians. They undergo thehegemony of the high castes, lynchings, arson, rape, riots, kidnappings and sexual harassment. The latest data speak of more than 40 crimes reported against Dalits in 2016. Roger gaikwad denounces this injustice:
“We always hear stories that Dalits are denied access to well water, access to temples, quality education, basic health care and employment opportunities. Women are raped and Dalit men are murdered. "
According to Father Z. Devasagaya Raj, secretary of the Indian Bishops' Office for Dalits and Indigenous Peoples, the December 4 demonstration is part of an attempt to change the situation politically.
“We are also trying to contact regional political parties to put our demand in their election manifestos. "
The living conditions are such that some are considering leaving the Christian faith and declaring themselves Hindus, in the hope that their grandchildren will at least have the life of an untouchable.
“If we are all listed as Hindus, at least our grandchildren will be entitled to state aid in education and reservations in government jobs. "
Image Credit: Dominic Rieger / Shutterstock.com
Info Chrétienne being an online press service recognized by the Ministry of Culture, your donation is tax deductible up to 66%.