The protest of the casteless in the village of Ayyampatty, on the eve of the patron saint festivities of Santa María Magdalena. “Excluded from the celebrations, even the cemeteries are separated.” They threaten to appeal to the Madras High Court if no action is taken.
Trichy () – The issue of discrimination against Dalits continues to shake the Catholic community in Tamil Nadu. After the mobilizations against the non-appointment of bishops from the casteless – who constitute the vast majority of the faithful in that Indian state – a new protest now affects the popular festival of Santa Magdalena in the village of Ayyampatty, belonging to the diocese of Tirucirapalli. (Trichy).
A Catholic named G. Mathew, filed a complaint, through his lawyers, with the civil authorities, the police and the diocese, in which he claims that Dalit Catholics are deliberately excluded from the celebrations and the procession that takes place with reason for the patronal feast of July 22.
“In our parish – explains Mr. G. Mathew to – there are about 70 Catholic Dalit families, but they are not included in the celebration. No subscriptions are collected from each other, the car procession through the village avoids the streets where Dalits live. The cemeteries are also separate: there is one for Dalit Christians and one for Catholics of other castes. The priest is not Dalit, but he has tried to include them in the community by involving women in church activities. However he was threatened by those belonging to the higher castes and now he was kicked out of the parish”.
In the exhibition they ask that measures be taken against these behaviors. Otherwise, the promoter of the initiative reserves the right to “appeal to the Madras High Court to protect the rights of Dalits in the Catholic Church.”
The casteless issue remains an open wound in Indian culture where, despite official abolition when the Constitution came into force in 1950, discrimination remains widespread in practice. Pope Francis wanted to give a significant signal to the local Catholic Church by electing for the first time a Dalit prelate among the new cardinals that will be created in the consistory of August 27, the Archbishop of Hyderabad, Msgr. Anthony Poola.