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PM advocates SCs status to Dalit Christian and Muslims

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promised a Christian delegation on 12 March that he is trying to formulate a consensus in order to pave the way for Scheduled Caste status to weaker sections of the minority. He also assured them of requisite action, to placate fears of insecurity among the Christian community. In this regard, prime minister also consoled the delegates and said he would ask the home minister to discuss the issue with the chief ministers, especially with the governments of Karnataka and Orissa to tackle violence against the community firmly. In a press release, the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), a Mumbai-based NGO, said Dr. Singh listened patiently to the delegation and assured it that he would do all in his capacity to allay the fears and insecurity that Christians were experiencing. He said his government was also concerned about the unfortunate happenings and was aware of the image it gave the country abroad.”

Attorney General G E Vahanvati had recently briefed the Cabinet Committee on political affairs about the demand by the Dalit Christian and Dalit Muslims that they are entitled to get reservation the way it was provided to Buddhists on the lines of presidential Order of 1950. During the meet prime minister also promised to act on the Saldanha report on violence against Christians in Karnataka. Justice MF Saldanha in his 308 page report has mentioned that the attacks on the churches were pre-planned and state sponsored by the BJP led government. The report also held Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa and Home Minister BV Acharya responsible for allowing the attacks to continue. On the contrary BK Somashekhara Panel, appointed by the Karnataka government in its report submitted on 28 January gave a clean chit to the BJP led government in Karnataka

The delegation that met the prime minister included Archbishop Concessao, Michael Saldanha, retired judge of the Bombay and Karnataka High Courts; CSF general secretary Joseph Dias; and Sunil Sardar, president, Truth Seekers International.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 April 2011 on page no. 20

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