India’s Supreme Court delays Dalit Christian hearing

By November 30, 2005

India (MNN) — India’s Dalit Christians received another blow in their quest for equal rights in that mostly Hindu nation. India’s Supreme Court has delayed hearing a case that would overturn a 1950 decision that takes away affirmative action rights of Dalits, the low caste or untouchables, once they convert to Christianity. That’s now on hold until a commission can investigate further.

Hopegivers International’s Bill Bray says most of their work in India is with Dalit Christians. Bray says, “The Supreme Court decision to post-pone their decision is very good news. It means that they’re taking this case very seriously. They could have rejected it right out of hand and gone with the Hindu majority and they’ve not done that.”

The case may be heard as early as February. Bray says if Dalit Christians receive equal rights, they’ll have incredible opportunities to share Christ. “They can be promoted in the military, promoted to government service. And, Christians will be treated more as equals. Now these doors are opening to the Christians and it’s up to them to use this opportunity to witness.”

While the Dalit wait on the Supreme Court decision, Bray says many are already turning to Christ. “The number of congregations have grown from 11,000 to 21,000 in a year. That shows you how big the movement is and how desperate the movement is for trained leadership.”

Bray says they’re doing everything they can to help with that, too. “We expect to graduate 10,000 from our seminary in February. Last year we graduated 6300, all Dalits.”

Hopegivers is asking people to help provide the funding needed to train even more Dalit Christians.

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