Government leaders in India scrap anti-conversion bill.

By June 13, 2006

India (MNN)–What began as an effort to create a Hindu nationalist state has backfired.

In 2002, members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got an anti-conversion law into the books that caused believers great concern.

The law specifically listed Dalits, who make up approximately one fifth of Tamil Nadu’s population, as one group restricted from evangelism efforts.

But a surprise ending to the elections took the BJP out of power. A newly-formed Tamil Nadu legislature introduced a bill on May 29 that addressed an issue from the earlier regime.

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India’s Dave Stravers says militant Hindu were trying to enforce Tamil Nadu’s anti-conversion law because a temporary repeal had never been ratified.

It appears they misjudged legislative sympathies. “Those people who want to guarantee freedom of religion and get rid of this (anti-conversion) law for good, have actually put that (repeal) law through the Parliament of the State of Tamil Nadu. The state legislative assembly officially passed a bill repealing, one and for all, this anti-conversion law.”

Neighboring states still enforce their anti-conversion laws, Stravers says, but ministry continues, in spite of it. “Because of the boldness of Christians who refuse to be intimidated by laws and by threats, the church is growing rapidly in Orissa. So, we need to pray that, like the apostles of the New Testament, Christian believers will take courage, trust God and witness boldly.”

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