India (MNN) — India’s Gujarat state has implemented yet another law targeting religious minorities. Lawyers announced their challenge the day before a separate anti-conversion amendment took effect.
John Pudaite of Bibles For The World says politics play a significant role in recent changes.
“Gujarat’s the home state of the current prime minister, Narendra Modi, and he is the leader of the BJP party — the very strong, pro-Hindu party,” Pudaite says.
“We’re seeing some more things passed there as a testing ground. We’re worried that they may try to roll them out nationally, or at least state by state.”
As explained here, Gujarat’s educational change shifts power in private schools:
The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (Amendment) Act, which came into effect on June 1, stipulates that the appointment of teachers and headteachers will now be undertaken by a new Central Recruitment Committee rather than by the schools themselves.
Christians and other religious minorities are challenging the new law because it increases state control of religious schools.
“It puts the recruitment of teaching staff under the purview of the state government. [The] state will do the recruiting according to their guidelines and their norms,” Pudaite says.
“This opens a door [for] non-Christians being recruited for these posts in Christian schools, and this could be very damaging.”
Under the new law, Christian schools will have to submit their openings to the Central Recruitment Committee and let that group handle the hiring process. Allegedly, the law is a quality control measure designed to increase the quality of education.
Pudaite says if left unchanged, the law will affect Bibles For The World’s ability to place mission-minded teachers in their Christian schools.
“We need to keep tracking this story. Our ministry is involved in about 40 schools, primarily in northeast India, but some are closer to the capital, so we’re going to be watching this,” Pudaite says.
Most importantly, pray. “We do ask [readers] to pray for this legal action that the Christians are taking. Pray that they may be able to defend their rights as a religious minority in the state,” Pudaite requests.
“We also pray that the Christians who are involved in education may be strong at this time [and] unite together against this very, very serious attack on Christian education.”
Header image courtesy of Bibles For The World.