New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Discrimination against Dalits in India is a "sin" and "shame" according to the national ecumenical conference on justice for the Dalits, held October 22 to 25 last and organized by the National Board of Churches in India (NCCI). About 80 members of the Indian Church, theologians and social activists took part in this conference.
Conference participants set themselves many goals: to reiterate that the caste system and the continuing violence and discrimination against the Dalits is against the will of God that the Church's vocation is to fight injustice wherever it occurs; review strategies to address the cause of the Dalits; discover new paradigms and new modules, to build solid bridges between churches and social movements working for the same cause.
Fr. Ajaya Kumar Singh, a social activist at the conference, told AsiaNews: "The caste system inherited from Hinduism and in which Indian society is still steeped is 'inhuman'. Because of this, millions of Dalits in India suffer from social, political and economic discrimination. " Rev. Raj Bharath Patta, Executive Secretary of NCC, said: "This conference was an opportunity to express our position on the Indian caste system. Catholics and Protestants must have one voice to outline a common position. We are engaged in the struggle for the emancipation of the Dalits, as an act of common witness of the fullness of life for all, that Jesus came to give".
The NCCI has 13 million members with 30 churches, 17 regional Councils of Christians, 17 All India Christian organizations, 7 related agencies and3 autonomous entities.
In Maharashtra the former untouchables block the city of Mumbai. Hindu radicals "try to repress them with violence because they do not believe in the equality of people". About 201 million Dalits live in India, out of a population of 1.2 billion.