Christian organisations have planned a protest in Warangal on Friday (August 10) to demand repelling the Presidential Order (1950), which does not allow for a Scheduled Caste (SC) status to Dalits who have converted to Christianity and Islam, New Indian Express has reported.
These Christian groups claim that benefits should also be extended to converted Dalits as they suffer from the same social barriers despite changing their religion.
A Dalit who converted to Christianity was quoted as claiming that:
Even though we have converted to Christianity, there has hardly been any change in our economic or social status. We remain poor and backward like the Dalit Hindus. As there is no difference in our situations, we too deserve the same benefits that they receiveMallepaka Sambaiah while demanding benefits for converted Dalits
According to a report in The Hindu, the Bishop of Warangal Diocese, Udumula Bala urged Dalit Christians to appear in large numbers at Amebdkar Junction in Hanamkonda to demand reservation.
The Bishop in a statement to the media said that a mere change in religion should not prohibit Dalits from the benefits which they were earlier eligible to avail. He also questioned why the facilities are being denied when the constitution says that one has the right to follow any religion.