India (MNN) — A pair of coordinated bombings rocked the city of Hyderabad in southern India on Saturday night, claiming 42 lives and heightening tensions between the nation's Hindu and Muslim population and foreign neighbors with alleged ties to terrorism. Although the government has unofficially pinned the bombings on foreign militants, debate continues about who conducted the attacks and their motives. Despite the bombings, Hindu-Muslim relations in Hyderabad remain peaceful.
Gospel for Asia's Founder and President KP Yohannan says, "India is no longer safe from terrorist attacks. The frequency of terrorist attacks and the presence of terrorists are increasing in India, a nation historically known for peace and harmony between all religions."
Dr. Yohannan made the comments following news of two deadly bomb blasts, minutes apart in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad. One explosion was at an open-air amusement park, while the other devastated a popular restaurant. At least 40 people were killed and nearly 100 were injured.
So far no one has claimed responsibility. Hyderabad has a large Muslim population and heritage dating back approximately 400 years. In May, at least 14 people were killed in an explosion outside the city's Mecca Masjid, one of India's most famous mosques.
Police discovered 16 other unexploded devices in Hyderabad, including one in a movie theater, which has prompted the closing of theaters throughout the city.
"The entire city is paralyzed, and all the roads are blocked," Dr. Yohannan reported. A number of Christian ministries are based in Hyderabad. One of GFA's main Bible colleges is located nearby, as well as its regional administrative headquarters.
While Dr. Yohannan admits that this tragedy makes it more complicated for GFA missionaries and pastors to do their work in the area, it is also an opportunity to share the love of Christ with those affected.
"We have to look at this from God's perspective," he explained. "We all belong to God. India belongs to God. The enemy of mankind is seeking to destroy people's lives; we must be agents of peace and Christ's compassion."
He and other GFA leaders are asking the Body of Christ around the world to pray for this situation.
"Pray for the Muslim community in India, a significant percentage of our population, that they will experience God's mercy and love. Pray that extremist groups like the Taliban will not have an influence in India."
"Pray also that we as the Body of Christ will be His true representatives during this time. We want to be peacemakers and help in whatever way we can."
Gospel for Asia is a mission organization involved in evangelism and church planting in Asia's unreached regions. Currently Gospel for Asia supports more than 16,500 native missionaries in 10 countries. On average, these missionaries establish approximately 10 fellowships every day among unreached villages and people groups. Gospel for Asia is also committed to training native missionaries in its 54 Bible colleges.