India (MNN) ― India's decision to split Andhra Pradesh state into two plunged the state into chaos and the government into crisis. Dozens of Congress and opposition legislators quit over the issue.
Although it's a complex issue carrying at least a half century of baggage, the basic grievance is this: Telangana supporters have complained that their area in the north of the state was underdeveloped and ignored by powerful politicians from southern Andhra Pradesh. Through keenly-felt injustice, they made demands for a separate state.
Dave Stravers of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India says the most recent events highlight the tensions between the ethnic and linguistic groups.
However, protests erupted over the decision. "Many of our Children's Bible Clubs and adult literacy classes in this region have not been meeting for the past two weeks. Normally, they meet every day. But when these things happen, people are fearful. They stay home. It really is a big obstacle to doing ministry when you have this kind of civil unrest."
There's no telling when it will settle down. The government's decision to create a new state led to counter protests. A mob rampaged through the streets of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, Friday in anger over the government's decision. Under the proposal, Hyderabad would be located deep inside Telangana, though it was not clear whether it would be part of the new state, the old state, or serve as a joint capital.
In the meantime, Stravers says their teams are anxious to get back out. Why? "The Telangana region of India has very fast church growth. We have many partners working in this region. It's just a pretty typical situation where the Gospel is progressing in the midst of a great deal of uncertainty."
With rioting still in full force, Strivers says their director sent a plea. "He's asking us to pray for peace: social and political peace."