AFTER DECADES of waiting, India's 21 million member Christian community has been assured by the country's new coalition government that one of their long-standing demands will be met.

Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda told a delegation from All India Christian People's Forum (AICPF) June 14 that special statutory rights would be extended to Christians of low caste origin.

The necessary legislation will be introduced and passed in the next session of parliament the Prime Minister said.

Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, head of the Welfare Ministry told the delegation earlier that “the Prime Minister has already asked me to initiate steps” to end the discrimination against Christian dalits (low castes) who comprise more than 60 percent of Christians.

Brindavan Moses, AICPF general secretary, said: “We are indeed happy that for the first time we have got a categorical assurance from the government. The undeclared apartheid against Christians is on the verge of collapse.” (Anto Akkara)