India state revokes ‘anti-conversion’ bill

By March 14, 2008

India (MNN) – Earlier this week on March 10, India's
Gujarat state government revoked the "anti-conversion" amendment
bill. Lawmakers may be trying to apply
an older but stronger version of the law passed in 2003.

That bill has remained dormant until now. The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
holds a lot of power in Gujarat, and there are concerns that the older measure
equally violates the religious freedoms  as
granted by the country's constitution.

The Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill was initially passed on
March 26, 2003. Because the government
couldn't frame enforcement provisions, the law went dormant, reportedly over
objections about some of the provisions.

According to Compass Direct News, anti-conversion laws are
supposed to curb religious conversions, but believers say the laws actually
obstruct evangelistic work. Often, Hindu
nationalists invoke them to harass Christian workers. 

Often, the anti-conversion laws are not applied to
"reconversion" to Hinduism. However,
the movement has been spreading. Anti-conversion
legislation is on the books in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and
Himachal Pradesh. Laws approved but not
yet implemented are found in Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Please continue to pray that believers will be free to
practice and share the Gospel. Church
leaders also ask prayer for the state governments. Gospel for Asia asks prayer "that they will do
justice and grant constitutional rights to all in the state."

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