India (MNN) — Violence marred the beginning of India's four-week national election process. In 14 attacks on polling stations, 17 people were killed in eastern and central India.
Founder of Gospel For Asia KP Yohannan, speaking from India, says this election violence and the threat of violence has postponed their Orissa State house rebuilding project. "With the election and the unfavorable situation with the bureaucrats that are very anti-Christian in Kandhamal and several other districts, they didn't want to give us protection."
Yohannan is praying for a change in the government. "I think they're going to hear the voice of people that they're not in favor of this kind of abuse and hurting the minorities, especially the Christians. This election is going to bring some changes to the state of Orissa, and we're praying for that."
Yohannan continues: "All Hindus are not anti-Christian. Unfortunately, this is the extremist minority who is going about causing so much destruction, killing people, and inflicting suffering on Christians."
Gospel for Asia has committed to rebuilding 1,000 homes at about $2,000 to $3,000 each. Yohannan says this program is expected to resume after the elections. "We may have greater protection and help from the changed new government in the state of Orissa to rebuild these houses and help the people who lost everything."
Hundreds of thousands of Christians were displaced in the Orissa state violence that began in August 2008. Homes were burned to the ground. Some Christians were killed. Others were chased into the forest, fearing for their lives. Many remain there.
Yohannan says the anti-Christian violence back-fired. "Persecuting Christians is not a way to stop the Christian faith. Even today, in spite of all the persecution, people are coming to Christ."