AM I NOT A CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY?

(Sir, you may treat this as a letter, or appeal, or as the cry of an anguished heart.
From: the worst affected victim, Mr. RJ Nirmal Jyothi Babu.)

I was born in an untouchable scheduled caste family in India. My father escaped the bonded labour of the village landlords. Later he found Truth in Christ and in his eternal teachings. Even that change did not help him to come out of the identity of scheduled caste and his social, economical, cultural life was not changed. He was not regarded equal in a church (Orthodox). He was still un-equal because the rest belonged to upper caste. So, we remained in the middle and continued as scheduled castes in Society. When I was in 7th class in 1974, the Government of AP introduced a rule saying that scheduled caste converts may get 1% Reservation. This was due to the rising protest of scheduled caste converts to Christianity, and due to them raising their voice to abolish discrimination against scheduled caste converts to Christianity.

But this too became a curse in view of the rule that Christian converts will get one job for every 50 vacancies. This is one of the deceptive devices imposed by the upper class Hindus.

So, because of this my father and I were forced to change to Hinduism again, as per the advice given by the elders fearing that we may loose further job opportunities. At this, even as a child I started thinking as to why Religion should become a barrier to avail my facility. But I was a child, tender in age, unable to fight with poverty so I continued in that system.

But one question remained unanswered, remained a puzzle. Even though my religion changed, my caste identify is sticking to me. As a bright student I passed all my academic tests. I completed my graduation. Later, I joined a 3 years Diploma in Hotel Management Catering Technology and applied for Nutrition which was introduced in AP. I was selected in All India level Selection and I completed my education as the first person in and among scheduled Castes from AP. I now had a bright future in Tourism Department. I could even rise to a state level post, but later I found that it was not so easy. Many government. Organisations follow the practice of selecting the scheduled castes persons having connection with church. Thus they render them unable to raise their voice. This is not the end. As and when some higher vacancy comes up they are denied that. Once one person was raised to the level of H. O. D. but was rejected for that post saying he had become a Christian.

Initially only my employment opportunities were affected. But, later in life I discovered that it was operating at the social level also. The upper class girl who came in my life told me that she could continue with me if I remained a Hindu What a pitiable situation for a person like me.

Later, when I searched for real Truth and accepted Christianity, Baptised through a mainline protestant Church in 6.9.'87, I was rejected for employment saying that I embraced Christianity. At First I approached the Special Employment Exchange for SCs & STs. They rejected my plea and gave me a small job as demonstrator in a Vizag Institute. While I was continuing in that job, the Principal of that Institute used to enquire about my religions changes after a couple of years when I said I could not give up Christianity, I was deprived of my due promotion in that Institution. I was sensing all this problem.I later wanted to join even as a supervisor in a reputed Company, my village revenue official rejected my application. Hindu fanatics of that area, raising my own caste brethren against me, instigated him.

When I went to argue with revenue officer about this matter saying that Christians and Christian Institution were doing only charity work and had no Constitutional obligation, to provide jobs and employment, no body would listen to me. It was like blowing a whistle in front of a deaf person. Some officers went on to say that only due to the Hindu caste system reservations were introduced, not for others. When I asked them why government a quota for SC converted Christians, and also why backward Muslim were enjoying BC Quota, they had no answar.

Later, I searched very deeply the constitutional amendments because in the beginning I was told that this Constitution wa secular.Many people like me believe that Article 25 (1) stating, that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion which is also broadly emphasize in Article 15 (1), 16 (2), but later the written constitution is changed by Castiest Hindus who declares that Dr. Ambedkar opposed the Reservation Policies for scheduled castes converts to Christianity. It is the conspiracy of upper class Hindus who want to divide scheduled castes further so these people may not unite to go against the brutal policies of the upper caste. Later, they changed even constitution amendment made by Dr. Ambedkar, parts of Article 341 (1) stating like this, "No person who professes a religion different from the Hindu or the Sikh Religion shall be deemed to be member of scheduled caste" by this rule at least 25 crores of scheduled castes' freedom or religions conscience is being killed brutally. Later, Buddhists are accepted but why not Christian converts?

I approached MLC from AP assembly. That lady forwarded my case to the Assembly but no reply has come. I approached scheduled castes Union Leaders who are so called rebels against the Hindu system. They, I found, were as selfish, only interested recruiting their own relatives or utilising their position in time of Elections, to get lump sum money and to be recognized as leaders of the community. I approached orthodox Christian Leaders. They said they were not concerned with SC converts. Who on earth, pray, they are concerned about? Christ who is in heaven?

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(PUCL Bulletin, Sept., 2000)