Methodist Church in Britain urges prayer on Dalit Liberation Sunday

The Methodist Church has urged people to pray for Dalitsstruggling under the caste system. The Church is hosting worshipmaterials on its website to help ministers and preachers planservices around Dalit Liberation Sunday, which was initiated by theNational Council of Churches in India. The aim of the day is toraise awareness about the enduring existence of castediscrimination that affects around 300 million peopleworldwide.

The Revd David Haslam, a Dalit human rights' campaigner, said:"Caste discrimination is present throughout Indian society andDalit and tribal Christians are both troubled and angered by it.Caste discriminates against the former 'untouchables' or Dalits - aword meaning 'crushed' or 'downtrodden' - on grounds of education,employment, housing, access to justice and operates even withinchurches and church institutions."

In October last year the National Council of Churches in India helda national conference which designated casteism as sin and proposeda widespread education programme throughout Churches in India,including marking Dalit Liberation Sunday designated as the Sundayclosest to International Human Rights Day on 10 December.

This year the theme of the Sunday (11 December) is 'Our God withStruggling People'. Last month a nun who was a Dalit rights'activist was murdered in India for defending land belonging toTribal Dalits. Sister Valsa John of Dumka's life was rememberedduring a candlelight vigil in memory on 18 November at New Delhi'sSacred Heart Cathedral.

The Dalit Liberation Sunday worship resource and information aboutDalit Liberation Day can be found on the Methodist Churchwebsite here.