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Indian communists woo dalit Christians

Initiative a ploy to garner support for the upcoming Kerala state elections

Indian communists woo dalit Christians
ucanews.com reporter, Kochi
India

February 3, 2011

The ruling Marxist party in Kerala organized a dalit Christian convention that some say is an attempt to divide Christians in the southern Indian state. Around 1,500 Christians of former low caste origin attended the Feb. 2 convention at Kottayam, a major Christian center in the state. Marxist leader Pinarayi Vijayan, who opened the convention, regretted that Christians of upper caste origin do not treat their dalit brethren as equal. “Even after so many centuries, the dalit Christians remain underprivileged and socially backward. They need special legal protection for their advancement,” he added. However, opposition leaders say the communists’ “new found love” for dalit Christians is a ploy to divide Christians in the state ahead of the legislative assembly elections to be held before May. Anto Antony, a member of parliament from the Congress party, told ucanews.com that the communists are giving dalit Christians “false promises” to win election. Christians form 19 percent of the state’s 31.8 million people. Dalit Christians are around 4 percent. According to Joseph Thomas, a dalit Christian leader, the communists had never bothered about his community until now. “All of a sudden, they are showing great sympathy for our cause. It’s a political stunt,” Thomas told ucanews.com.   Related reports Kerala Marxists say Church defeated them Communists bar Kerala Christians from voting IB13151.1639
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