India (MNN) — The India Christian Council is endorsing the Union Government's decision to warn state leaders about anti-Christian violence in the states of Orissa and Karnataka. The Union Government has invoked Article 355 of the Constitution warning the administrators that it will intervene if they don't take action.
Founder and President of Gospel for Asia KP Yohannan says, "The Central Government, today, proclaimed that unless you stop doing this, we are going to take action, which means they will simply dismiss the local government."
Three more major incidents were reported over the weekend. Yohannan says the tribal Christians are the most at risk, especially those still hiding from previous attacks. "These radical fundamentalists are not allowing Christians to go in and bring relief — food, and other basic necessities to these people."
Yohannan says this is a large segment of society in Orissa. "80-percent of the people live in remote communities where you don't have even a road. These are remote, primitive, rural communities far away from cities or towns, and this is where most of these attacks took place."
The violence is taking its toll on GFA outreach. He says, "A running train kind of came to a halt. We have some 300 churches and a major Bible college, and hundreds of our pastors and missionaries are no more able to return to their mission field immediately because of the threat on their lives."
Even if the violence stopped immediately, ministry would be stymied. Yohannan says there's "a huge amount of rebuilding that remains in terms of churches and homes and people's belongings. Even their own personal Bibles and belongings have been completely destroyed."
The violence began in August when Christians were falsely accused to murdering a well-known radical Hindu leader.
While the violence has been devastating, Yohannan says Christian leaders report a bright spot. "There's not one believer from our movement that has denied their faith, in spite of persecution, because these radicals are forcing people to deny their faith, burn their Bibles and come back to their Hindu fold."
So, while the work is difficult and slow, the commitment and determination is great.
Yohannan says western Christians can minister. "This is one of the places where, as we read in the Scripture, our willingness to embrace these believers and share in their suffering and show kindness to them, and not forsaking them, which means resources. It takes a huge amount of finances to rebuild houses and churches."