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  • » 04/05/2007, 00.00

    INDIA

    Tamil Nadu: Quotas for Christian and Muslim Dalits

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Chief Minister announces plans to reserve quotas for Dalits in schools and public service. No details are yet forthcoming but everyone is waiting for a Supreme Court decision on the matter.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) – School and public service quotas for Christian and Muslim Dalits in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu will be implemented, the state’s Chief Minister Karunanidhi Muthuvel announced. Both Christian and Muslim Dalits will receive Scheduled Caste status which guarantees a series of benefits and privileges, including quotas in public schools and in the public service.

    Mr Karunanidhi made his announcement during a debate in the state assembly. He said that his government will introduce quotas for Christian and Muslim Dalits as soon as the Supreme Court will have ruled in late May whether Christian Dalits should receive the same treatment as other Dalits.

    Quotas will be decided after the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Party (DMK) consults its allies.

    Non Hindu Dalits lost their Scheduled Caste status in 1950, but whilst Sikhs and Buddhist Dalits were eventually able to get it back, Christians and Muslims were not.

    In the 2006 state elections, the DMK included Dalit demands in its political platform.

    When last year’s budget was signed, the state government reassured Christian and Muslim Dalits that it would reintroduce quotas for them and urged the central government to do the same at the national level.

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    See also

    10/03/2008 INDIA
    Upper caste and Dalit Catholics clash, police shoot and kill
    In Tamil Nadu upper caste Catholics attack Dalits, destroying dozens of their homes. They are “guilty” of demanding a separate parish. Police move in and fire at attackers.

    10/05/2007 INDIA
    Among Dalits, women are the most humiliated, laments the Indian Church
    In welcoming a resolution before the US Congress on India’s caste system, the Bishops’ Conference of India insists on the role education for women can play in Dalit emancipation.

    14/09/2007 INDIA
    Reserved quotas for Christian and Muslim Dalits in Tamil Nadu
    After a drawn-out battle chief minister announces 3.5 per cent quota for Christian and Muslim Dalits. Bishops praise the initiative but stress that the real goal is a constitutional guarantee for Dalits.

    30/10/2006 INDIA
    Ambiguous opening to Hindu Dalits, more discrimination against Christian Dalits
    A paper close to Hindu paramilitary group calls for outcastes to be allowed to head major Hindu pilgrimage centres. Commission investigating Dalit rights further postpones release of its report.

    13/11/2006 INDIA
    Court rules Dalit entitlements only for Hindus
    Judges agree that a Dalit Christian who re-converted to Hinduism is entitled to Scheduled Caste quota benefits in applying for public sector employment; Christian Dalits are not.



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