A conversion rally in India gets attention.

By October 10, 2003

India (MNN)–Conflicting reports out of India’s Gujarat state show thousands of Dalits may have converted to Buddhism on October 5th.

Other published reports indicate that the gathering, in fact, was a religious meeting, and not a conversion rally. Regardless of which event took place, it led to questions on the full enforcement of their anti-conversion law.

Gujarat ‘s reputation for zealous enforcement of the law against Christians is known. The implementation of it has also led to a dramatic upswing in persecution reports. Incidents of church burnings, beatings and threats of bodily harm are common, with slow response from the government.

Yet, that may speak to the motive for the law. Mission groups think it may have been a political one, and Gospel For Asia’s KP Yohannan agrees to an extent. “There are political interests with so many groups that are seeking to get these Dalits converted from their situation with the Hindu caste system to Buddhism or anything so that, eventually they can use this thing to get power.”

However, Yohannan says the Dalits are responding to the Gospel. There is an openness to the hope of Christ that appeals to the lowest caste. When they become a Christian, the government gets interested.

Gospel For Asia teams take precautions to fend off political accusations. “We first make sure that their confession is correct, and then we have to sign an affidavit and have it filed with the local magistrate so that it is legal. That’s how we’ve been doing it. Once you do that, they can not come after us. They’re saying this conversion is done by fraudulent means.”

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