Dalit Christian rights case before the High Court in India, violence continues

By April 6, 2006

India (MNN) — The Dalit Christian rights case went before the High Court of India yesterday. At issue is whether or not it’s unconstitutional to take away the affirmative action rights of the ‘untouchables’ when they convert to Christianity. With thousands of them fed up with the poor treatment by Hindus, thousands — maybe millions — are turning to Christianity.

President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says Hindu nationalists aren’t happy with Dalit conversions and the court’s decision to hear the case. Yohannan believes the increase in violence against Christians the last two months is for a reason. “To send a signal, a message to the Supreme Court, saying, ‘if you side with the Christians then they’ll be more problems and unrest in the country.”

According to Yohannan, the violence is unprecedented. “I have never seen so much persecution and opposition for Christians like I’ve seen in the last two months. I’m quite surprised that the Congress majority in the government are not able to act and stop this persecution.”

Missionaries have been beaten, churches burned down and Christians kidnapped and jailed. Yohannan says GFA is preparing their students. “It is with sorrow I will tell you, we are teaching our missionaries and our students right now in our 54 Bible colleges, prepare yourself to lay down your life for Christ’s sake. I do not see that this persecution (slowing) down.”

According to Yohannan, it’s not a religious issue any more, it’s about money and power. “They’re using religion as a means to get control over people and the money which all has to do with power. And, that’s the reason they’re scared to death that these Dalits, the untouchables, which are their slaves at this time, are being liberated through Christ’s Gospel.”

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