News
19 February 2020

Indian Supreme Court to decide on 'Scheduled Caste' status for Christians

The Indian Supreme Court is currently hearing a legal challenge which would allow Christians and Muslims to be recognised as part of the ‘Scheduled Caste’, which would provide them with a certain amount of government support and protection.


19 February 2020

The Indian Supreme Court is currently hearing a legal challenge which would allow Christians and Muslims to be recognised as part of the ‘Scheduled Caste’, which would provide them with a certain amount of government support and protection.

The case was first filed 16 years ago and regards a Presidential Order from 1950. The 1950 Order granted Dalit (now known as Scheduled Caste) status to Hindus, but specified that ‘no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of a Scheduled Caste’. This was significant because Dalits became eligible for affirmative action programs and special legal protection and rehabilitation when facing caste-based discrimination and violence.

Dalit status was later conferred on Buddhists and Sikhs too. However, Christians and Muslims have not been included in the Scheduled Caste status and are therefore not eligible for these basic rights.

What is life like for Christians in India? 

The current legal challenge aims to remove all reference to religion within the Scheduled Caste criteria so that it will be applied on the basis of social status to those of all faiths and ensure that minorities are not excluded. 

A Supreme Court ruling is expected in the next two weeks. 

India is number 10 on the World Watch List for the second year running. The rise in Hindu extremism means that many Christians face violent attacks, particularly in rural areas. But Open Doors partners are often the first to counsel, comfort and assist our persecuted church family. 

PLEASE PRAY:  

  • For believers in India as they await the outcome of this court decision, that they would know God’s peace
  • That the legal challenge is successful and that Indians no longer need to belong to certain religions in order to be considered a Scheduled Caste 
  • That this would be a turning point and lead to better protection and participation of those from religious minorities in Indian society. 

PLEASE PRAY

Lord Jesus, please draw near to our brothers and sisters in Kenya who need Your healing power and presence. Strengthen believers to be witnesses for You in their communities. May You turn the hearts of those intent on harm away from violence and hatred and towards Your love, mercy and forgiveness.

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