Monday, December 29, 2008

Orissa Will Investigate Charges of False Scheduled Caste Certificates

In the Kandhamal district of the Indian state of Orissa, the government has agreed to investigate charges that at least two politicians have used false Scheduled Caste certificates to obtain governmental positions. (See prior related posting.) In India, members of Scheduled Castes (formerly known as "untouchables") obtain various preferences. According to Zee News yesterday, opponents charge that Radhakant Nayak , now a member of India's upper house of Parliament, entered the civil service in the 1960's by using a false certificate. Nayak is head of a local chapter of the Christian charity, World Vision. Critics also charge that Sugrib Singh, a member of the lower house of India's Parliament, became a Parliament member by means of a false certificate. Under current Indian law, a Hindu member of a Scheduled Caste loses that status if he or she converts to Christianity. (See prior posting.) Members of Scheduled Tribes, however, do not lose their status through religious conversion.

Meanwhile, an article today in Religious Intelligence reviews the history of anti-Christian violence in Orissia over the last ten years.

UPDATE: The Hindu reports on Tuesday that the government of Orissa is attempting to deal with broader objections regarding false caste certificates by proposing to eliminate the term "kui" from the list of tribals. Many speak the kui language who were not tribals. Tribals can convert religion and keep tribal status. The proposal will be considered by the state level Tribal Advisory Committee on Jan. 19.