Dalit Christians Report Untouchability, Widespread Caste Discrimination Within Sivaganga Diocese

Priests of the Sivaganga Diocese. (image via diocese website)

A report by the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF) has alleged widespread caste based discrimination against Dalit Christians in the Sivaganga district in Tamil Nadu (TN), DNA has reported.

The report – titled ‘Dalit Christians Crucified’, makes damning allegations of discriminatory practices like untouchability, separate churches and cemeteries and denial of priesthood to Dalit Christians being practiced within the diocese.

“Among the Catholics in this Diocese, 25 per cent belong to Devendra Kula Velalar or Pallar – a sub-sect of Dalits. 30 years after the formation of this Diocese, there is not a single soul from among this Dalit community to be ordained as priest,” said K Samuel Raj, general secretary of the TNUEF.

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Dalit Christians also reportedly face discrimination in other occupations, with schools, colleges and hospitals operated by the church only recruiting staff from the non-Dalit Christian population.

The front also reports festivals being organised separately for the Dalit and non-Dalit Christian populations.

The Bishop for the Shivaganga Diocese also reportedly admitted to the existence of caste based discrimination in the church while expressing his inability to get Dalits from the Pallar community ordained as priests.

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