Karnataka Dalit Christian Okkoota has urged the Union government to bring Dalit Christians under the Scheduled Castes to ensure overall development of the community.

Okkoota State convener Y. Mariswamy told presspersons here on Saturday that the living conditions of Dalit Christians had not improved since Independence. Dalit Christians, with an estimated population of over 30 lakh in the State, have been identified as Most Backward Class and brought under Category I of the Backward Classes.

“Committees and commissions set up by the State and Union governments such as the Sachar Committee, Ranganath Misra Commission and C.S. Dwarakanath Committee have said that reservation should not be based on religion as religious conversion does not change the social and economical status of any community. The government should take note of this and bring Dalit Christians under the Scheduled Castes,” he said. The Okkoota has put before the government several demands, including relaxation of income limit for getting admission in students’ hostels and residential schools; setting up a development corporation for the welfare of Dalit Christians; representation for the community members in the Legislative Council, boards and corporations; and construction of community halls.

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