Include convert Christians in list of Scheduled Castes: Karuna

Chennai: Making a fresh appeal to the Centre for including convert Christians in the list of Scheduled Castes, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today sought the Prime Minister's personal intervention in the matter as it was pending for the last 15 years.

Karunanindhi said he had first taken up the issue with the Centre in 1996, followed that up in 2006 and again written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year.

The chief minister said he has written a fresh letter to Singh seeking his personal intervention in the issue.

In the letter, a copy of which was released to the media, Karunanidhi said though Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 originally laid down that "no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of a SC", amendments were later made to include persons professing Sikhism and Buddhism in SC list.

"The government of Tamil Nadu feels that members of castes listed in SC have suffered social and economic discrimination irrespective of the religions professed by them," he said in the letter, identical to the one sent to Singh in April 2010.

Karunanidhi said it would be "appropriate if paragraph 3 of the Constitution (SC) order, 1950 is deleted in toto." "The government of Tamil Nadu has repeatedly addressed the Government of India for issuing early orders on the above issue. However, till now, no formal order has been received from Government of India," he said.