India’s vote a resounding shout against extremism

By May 20, 2009

India (MNN) — India's election
results reflect a vote against religious-based extremism.

The United Progressive Alliance,
a secular coalition led by the Congress party, swept the elections. Once
the results were announced, the Congress party wasted no time in
electing Manmohan Singh as leader — a move that  formally sets the stage for his appointment
as prime minister. Singh has vowed to lead a "stable, strong government which is committed to
secular values."

Notes Glenn Penner of Voice of
the Martyrs Canada
, "We are grateful that the Indian people have expressed
their rejection of the BJP's militant brand of Hinduism."

Dave Stravers with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based
Mission India
calls it an answer to prayer. "There really
is a spiritual battle going on for the soul of the country."

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
and its supporters are blamed for several anti-Muslim and anti-Christian
pogroms, the most notable being Orissa's disaster.  

However, Stravers observes that
in spite of the change in government, the animosity believers endure has
continued. "There was another
attack against a relief camp. Christians
who were forced into relief camps have been living in these horrible conditions
for six months. Now, they're being
attacked in the camps."

It will take time for things to
settle down. A major question hangs in
the air: will there be more tolerance for believers? Stravers says, "Be praying for peace. Be
praying for authorities who are willing to protect the rights of minority
Christians as well as Muslims and others
who are attacked by Hindus."

All India Christian Council says
some 713 million Indians were eligible to vote this year. There were total
8,070 contestants, including 556 women going to the polls. According to the
constitution, a new government must be formed by June 2.

In the meantime, Mission India continues their work with church
planters, literacy classes and Bible clubs. They're also reporting a great deal of fruit. "We don't even understand why there are
so many new churches being planted and new believers coming by the millions
into the church. We think that the Lord is moving in a remarkable way."

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