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Dalit IAS officer explores law to preach Christianity
Wednesday January 28, 2015 9:34 PM, IANS

Senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer C. Umashankar is looking at legal options to challenge a government directive forbidding him from preaching Christianity.

"I am looking at legal options. I have to discuss with my lawyers first," Umashankar told IANS Wednesday.

According to him, the government's directive suppresses his constitutional right to speech and freedom to practice and preach religion.

The Tamil Nadu government recently ordered Umashankar to stop addressing meetings where he preaches Christianity, as it would result in communal disharmony and disturb the public order.

The government warned him of disciplinary action if he failed to abide by its directive.

Umashankar said he has stopped addressing meetings following the government directive.

Questions are also being raised by Dalit organisations as to whether Umashankar, a Dalit, has converted to Christianity and, if so, when and where.

"Umashankar has not spelt out clearly whether he has officially converted to Christianity," Tada D. Periyasamy, a Dalit leader and founder trustee of Nandanar Sevashrama Trust, told IANS over phone from Perambalur, around 280 km from here, Wednesday.

"Conversion to Christianity is a non-issue. I am disciple of Christ. As per official records I am a Hindu," Umashankar said, adding that he practices Christianity.

Periyasamy said Umashankar, a Dalit by birth and in a high position, can preach Christianity after getting converted to that faith.

"But being a Hindu IAS officer and preaching Christianity is not right. It is bad for the Dalit community," Periyasamy said.

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