Civil society groups of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians have demanded that the “discriminatory” 1950 Presidential Order be amended. The order held that only Dalit who profess Hindu religion could be treated as Scheduled Castes (SC).

Addressing the protesters, Samuel Jayakumar, executive secretary of Commission for Policy, Governance and Public Witnesses, argued that “given the fact that the SC status and the benefits that go with it are aimed to address historical caste-based socio-economic deprivation, the Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims have more compelling case for SC status than many others”.

“Because of being deprived of SC status for more than half a century, the two minority communities are worse off in terms of major socio-economic indicators than many of the so-called ‘Hindu’ Dalits. Not only that they are denied reservations in jobs and elected bodies, they are also not protected from anti-SC atrocity legislation,” he added.