Dalit Christians will be in court next month asking for equal rights in India

By September 30, 2005

India (MNN) — Dalit Christians face an important decision on October 18th in India. Gospel for Asia reports that’s the date the Indian Supreme Court will hear a delayed case affecting millions of Dalit Christians. The decision will determine whether or not Dalit Christians will receive basic human rights now given to Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist Dalits.

Dalits are considered the low caste of society, the untouchables. They’re given rights to jobs, education and more, but not if they convert to Christianity. It’s all taken away.

Gospel for Asia’s KP Yohannan believes the Dalits will win. “This is definitely going to happen because there is tremendous pressure from all sides, especially on the left, who are saying this needs to be done. And, therefore I do not think they can say no to it especially with the world coming into the picture.”

He’s talking about a conference being held in Washington DC on October 6th, which is designed to make the world aware the many atrocities affecting the low caste in India. It’s sponsored by the Dalit Freedom Network and it’s being called, “Racism and Caste Based Discrimination in India: Implications for the US-India Relationship,” which is followed by a House Hearing on ongoing Caste atrocities.

Yohannan says, “The whole purpose is to get the world (to) become aware of the fact of the slavery of these Dalits and this is another step needed to be taken so they can be freed from the grip of this caste system.”

If the Supreme Court rules in the Dalits favor, Yohannan says the Dalits will no longer fear publicly professing the faith in Christ and even more will commit to Him.

However, that presents another problem, there are not enough trained pastors and lay leaders to disciple them. “It’s a huge challenge. The Lord has to do something very significant. And, this is one of the reasons we have increased the number of students in our Bible schools this year, knowing that things are happening and we need to get ready and this is a challenge.”

$30 a month is all it takes to train a student, but there’s not enough funding to meet the demand. “Every year we are turning away students from our Bible school simply because we don’t have the resources to keep them in our center. So, there’s not a lack of Christian workers, we just need to find a way to help them so we can get the work done.”

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