Dalits burn anti-conversion laws; ministry reveals mission.

By October 23, 2006

India (MNN)–Thousands of India’s low caste Hindus gathered a week ago and burned anti-conversion laws.

These Dalits publicly left Hinduism and adopted Buddhism and Christianity in a mass conversion ceremony that took place in Nagpur last Saturday.

The India Christian Council organized the rally to mark World Religious Freedom Day. It was an event designed to protest against caste-based discrimination and anti-conversion laws that limit religious freedom.

Dave Stravers is with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India. He says it’s a social revolt, of sorts. The anti-conversion laws forbid forced conversions.

Stravers notes that the Dalits are open to the Gospel, not because of the politics, but because the Holy Spirit has been working in this group. “When a person becomes a believer, his neighbors, his friends, officials in the community accuse him of making a political statement is simply not the case–we don’t really want this to be politicized.”

Currently, anti-conversion laws are in place in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Rajasthan.

Laws aside, Stravers says their focus remains on their work with literacy teachers, Bible clubs and church planters reaching thousands with the Gospel.

With so many responding, the team still tries to attract little to no attention. Stravers explains that it’s crucial to the continuation of the ministry. “All of these efforts are reaping a lot of fruit. There will be tens of thousands of converts this year through that ministry. But if you suddenly get a high profile and you become targeted by extremists that can be very disruptive.”

Mission India works to train and equip local Indian Christians. They know the languages, the customs, and the dangers in their own areas. They are trained to teach the Bible and form clusters of new disciples that reproduce and expand.

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