Dalit Freedom Network

Dalit Freedom Network

Dalit Freedom Network is an evangelical [1]Christian organization whose official mission is to "empower the Dalits in their quest for social freedom and human dignity by networking human, financial, and informational resources." [2] Founded by Dr. Joseph D'souza, who heads the "All India Christian Council" and Nanci Ricks, DFN is located in Colorado. The Dalit Freedom Network is a partner of the All India Christian Council,[3] a nationwide alliance of more than 2000 Christian denominations, mission agencies, institutions, federations in India.As per Dr. Joseph D'Souza's biography[4] on the The 700 Club's website : "The Dalit Freedom Network grew out of the AICC's (All India Christian Council's) need to facilitate work in the United States". They have been accused of misrepresenting a "Dalit" cause to suppress their missionary identity.[5]

Contents

Programs

The DFN also hosted a conference entitled "Racism and Caste Based Discrimination in India: Implications for the US-India Relationship", where talks were given by Udit Raj and Kancha Ilaiah, both prominent critics of Hinduism. D'Souza has also frequently been cited by the Christian Coalition and other Fundamentalist Christian groups in the United States.[6] The Dalit Freedom Network raised $795,462 in 2004 and spent $372,523 on programs and services as reported by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The remainder of the money was sent the following year as designated money to support developing programs.

Joseph D'Souza was invited to testify as an expert on the Dalit issue by the United States Congress at a hearing on October 6, 2005.[7]

DFN has four programming areas: education, healthcare, economic development, and social justice advocacy. In education, DFN has started more than fifty English-medium schools for Dalits and other low-caste people.[8] In healthcare, DFN has sent dozens of medical teams to Dalit villages for preventative care and in response to emergencies.[9] The economic development program is still in its foundational stages.

In advocacy, Joseph D'Souza and Nanci Ricks have both been recognized as international experts on the Dalit issue and have been invited to testify in the United States and internationally on the subject of Untouchability. D'Souza was invited to testify as an expert on the Dalit issue by the United States Congress at a hearing on October 6, 2005.[7] He also testified before the UK Conservative Human Rights Commission on April 4, 2007.[10] Both Ricks and D'Souza testified before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on the effects of Untouchability on women.[11]

Mass baptism

On 21 October 2006, Joseph D'Souza, Dr. John Dayal, and Bishop Moses Swamidoss organized a mass baptism, and baptized 528 Hindu converts to Christianity.[12]

Activities in Nagaland and with Karen people

In 2007 Joseph D'souza and John Dayal, expressed sadness over the recent violence in Nagaland and appealed to all sections of Naga society.[13] He has also worked with a missionary Benedict Rogers working with the Karen people in Myanmar.

Controversy

The DFN hosted a conference entitled [14]"Racism and Caste Based Discrimination in India: Implications for the US-India Relationship", where talks were given by activists Udit Raj and Kancha Ilaiah who have been accused of making statements that are biased against Hinduism.[15]

The DFN and other similar NGOs have also been criticized by authors Crystal Hsu and PN Benjamin for working as "safe houses" for lobbyists engaged in destroying the cultural heritage of India. Hsu and Benjamin assert the DFN and other similar NGOs are using endemic problems with caste discrimination as a pretext to gain a foothold in Indian society that have increased social tensions without any meaningful benefit to the Dalit community. They have also criticized DFN for equating caste discrimination with racism.[16]

Modern discrimination

Paramakudi Riots which occurred in Tamil Nadu on Sep 11 2011 is an evidence of a modern form of discrimination against Dalits.

See also

References

External links


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