Black Day 2013

Black Day 2013

Protest Rally and Public Meeting 

Marumalai Nagar, Chennai.
August 10th, 2013

Demanding the Scheduled Caste status for the Dalits who converted to Christianity and Islam, a massive rally and public protest meeting was organised at Marumalai Nagar, near Chennai in Tamil Nadu, under the auspices of the National Council of Dalit Christians with the help of the Catholic and Protestant churches (Salvation Army, CSI Chennai Diocese). More than ten thousand Dalit Christians as well as those who are in solidarity with this right cause had attended the rally and the public meeting.

The protesters walked down the street for around three kilometers shouting slogans against the unjustifiable discrimination towards the Dalits in Islam and Christianity meted out by the government. They raised slogans, which demand the Central government’s immediate reply to the case pending in the Supreme Court in the Dalit Christian/ Muslim reservation issue. Towards the end of the rally they joined a huge protest meeting in which Peter Alphonse (MP from Congress party), V. P. Duraisamy (Deputy General Secretary of DMK), T. K. Rangarajan (CPM), Iyyathurai (CPI), Mrs. Sivagami IAS., Thirumavalavan (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal), Kudandhai Arasan (Viduthalai Thamil Puligal), Arch Bishop Chinnappa, Bishop Neethinathan, Bishop Judepaulraj (Palyamkottai), Bishop Ezra Sargunam, Bishop Devasagayam (CSI Madras Diocese), Ms. Ruth Manorama, Mr V J George (NCDC), Prof Mary John (NCDC), Adv. Franklin (NCDC), Fr Bosco (NCDC) and Rev Sunil Raj Philip (Executive Secretary, Commission on Dalits of NCCI) gave speeches on Dalit Christian issue.

The speakers on the day specifically pointed out that the denial of SC status for Dalit Christians is clear case of denying the religious freedom for them and thus a stark violation of constitutional rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. The positive move of Ms Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, appealing the Central Government of India to extend the Scheduled Caste status to the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, was highly appreciated in this meeting.

The presence of the bishops, who have been vehemently supporting this cause for the equal rights and justice and the politicians like Thirumavalavan who are pro- Dalit leaders, made this conference a powerful and meaningful one. The bitter fact that the infamous Constitution (Scheduled Caste) order 1950 was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which says that “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Caste” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net was highlighted and condemned by these leaders in the public meeting. They felt that it is appropriate to observe this day as a Black Day.

A resolution demanding immediate action on this issue was presented in the public meeting and unanimously approved.

The speakers in the meeting as well as the participants shared the view that becoming a consolidated power, which can influence the government’s decision, is the only solution for this problem. The leaders were vociferous in telling that the Dalit Christian will be compelled to take this kind of a stand in the forthcoming general election in 2014.

Black Day Observance in the NCCI Campus

Black Day was observed in the NCCI Campus on 10th of August 2013. The observance was organised by Rev Dr Solomon Rongpi and Rev Caesar. Black flag was hoisted and protest was registered.

In the meeting of the priests in Nagpur, which was held at the premises of the All Saints’ CNI Cathedral in Nagpur, a protest of prayer was held. The priests wore black badges to denote their protest.

Rev. Sunil Raj Philip,
Executive Secretary, Commission on Dalits,
National Council of Churches in India.