Anti-conversion bill revisted in Chhattisgarh

By September 4, 2007

India
(MNN) — Chhattisgarh's anti-conversion bill has run into trouble over
amendment questions. Dave Stravers of
Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India explains:
"What's happening now is they want to amend the law to make it stronger. The amendment that's being proposed is that
any religious conversion will require pre-approval on the part of the
government." 

According to Compass Direct, the governor of Chhattisgarh
feels the amendments amount to excessive government control and a religious
double standard in a state "anti-conversion" amendment bill.

Not surprisingly, the legislation was proposed by the Hindu
nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The changes present more hoops for new believers to jump through. 

Stravers believes the laws were designed to slow the spread
of Christianity. "The current laws
in places like Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya
Pradesh and Orissa have put a damper on a lot of things. Of course, some
Christians who might otherwise be a little bolder in their work are going to be
intimidated by the laws, and that's what we're praying doesn't happen."

Similar bills introduced by the BJP are facing obstacles in
three other states: Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh
and Rajasthan.

Stravers says even if enforcement causes problems for their
partners, they are not easily deterred. "The persecution that they are
feeling at this time may be found to be a stimulus to ministry."

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