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Red Flag In "cool" San Francisco
Another People's Tribunal

Man they do touch all the "key red words" <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Public Tribunal Wants Full Affirmative Action Rights for Dalit Christians

July 21, 2005
Hindu Press International

A public tribunal has declared that the 16 million Dalit Christians in India should get their full Scheduled Caste rights ("reservations," a form of affirmative action in education and job opportunities) enjoyed by their Dalit counterparts of other minority religions. "It is necessary that the Christian Dalits are given the same benefits, aids and advantages, facilities and opportunities as are given to the Dalits of Hindu, Sikh and neo-Buddhist religions on the basis of the caste to which they belonged before conversion and which they are carrying even today," the tribunal said.
(HPI adds: The difference comes because Sikhs and Buddhists are considered "Hindus" for the purposes of these reservations in India's constitution.)

"The Dalit Christian People's Tribunal, after recording evidence - both oral and written - has come to the conclusion that it is highly unrealistic socially and as well as legally to make distinction between Dalits on the basis of religion," the judgment said. "It is also unfortunately a sad reality that the converts have carried their caste marks with them be it of higher caste or lower caste. As a result, all the religious communities in India today, except the Parsees, have an ingrained caste system prevalent in all spheres of life.

As many as 573 witnesses from the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and the Union Territory of Pondicherry registered at the public hearing. Hundreds of others witnessed the proceedings. The tribunal heard 20 persons, and took written depositions from others.

The public hearings were fully backed by <b> Catholic and Protestant Church leaders </b>, the organizers claimed. (HPI adds: Loss of reservations under the present laws is a prime obstacle to their conversion efforts.)

The presentation before the tribunal emphasized that the struggle was not for mere reservation in j obs and educational institutions in the public sector, advocate Mr. Arokia Doss. "This (reservation) is important. More important is human dignity and protection of law as equal citizens of India. Dalit Christians cannot fully participate even in the Panchayat Raj (local self-government at village level) and grassroots democracy structures from reserved constituencies even if they are the major group in the village or constituency. There are other areas of discrimination, including economic disempowerment," he said.

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Red Flag In &quot;cool&quot; San Francisco - by Guest - 07-19-2005, 11:19 PM
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