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India: Tackling Pervasive Discrimination of Dalits

Although Dalits are the majority in the Catholic Church, they are not treated equally. The Dalit Christian children are not allowed to serve the altar or to become lectors. Most so-called upper-caste priests do not visit the houses of Dalit Christians. We see this discrimination even in the appointment of bishops. Among India’s 174 dioceses only 11 bishops are from the Dalit Christian community. Separate cemeteries and churches for Dalit and other Catholics still exist among followers of Christ. Inter-caste marriage is still not common among Christians. Using caste names as surnames is still prevalent even among priests and religious.

During parish feasts, religious procession is not made on streets passing through Dalit settlements. Dalit people cannot take the bodies of their deceased members for burial through the common street. Some Dalit Christian villages are still mission stations and their faithful remain unattended by clergy.

Source: Global Sisters Report

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