CSW launches 'Inclusive India' campaign

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is today launching 'Inclusive India', to urge the Indian government and international stakeholders to focus afresh on the rights of India’s marginalised minorities. The launch coincides with the appointment of Meira Kumar, a Dalit, as India’s first woman Speaker of Parliament.
'Inclusive India; recognises that “there is much to celebrate about India” but warns that “tens of millions of her citizens suffer severe social exclusion, whether because of their caste, tribe, or religion”. It will run until the Commonwealth Games in October 2010, to be held in Delhi, and will call for justice for victims of religiously-motivated violence, for an end to discrimination based on caste, for reform of unfair legislation, and for foreign corporate investors to engage with minority issues.
The campaign launch also comes after news of fresh attacks in Kandhamal district, Orissa, the scene of widespread anti-Christian violence in 2008. On 31 May, three more houses of Christians were burnt down. A case has been filed, but police reportedly pressurised the victims to remove the name of the alleged leader of the attack, Mr Dilu Mohanty. He had previously been accused of several murders during the 2008 attacks, but has never been arrested.
Dr John Dayal, a member of the government’s National Integration Council and Secretary General of CSW partners, the All India Christian Council (aicc), said: “I take great pride in being a citizen of India, the world’s largest democracy and a leader in the South Asian region.  However, I long to belong to a society in which religious and caste identity have no bearing on one’s prospects and on how one is treated.  The election results and the newly-formed government offer India an opportunity to re-affirm her commitment to justice, religious freedom and equality”.
CSW’s Advocacy Director, Alexa Papadouris said: “Meira Kumar’s appointment is a boost to the erosion of identity-based discrimination in India. She follows the late former President, K. Narayanan, and the current Chief Justice, as a very important figurehead for India’s Dalit population. However, our ‘Inclusive India’ campaign highlights the need for an impact to be made at the grassroots level. We begin by focusing on justice in cases of religiously-motivated violence. The urgency of this is demonstrated by the recent attacks in Orissa, reportedly led by a man who should have been investigated already for his role in last year’s violence. We urge India’s newly-formed government to put justice for victimised minorities at the very heart of their agenda“.

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