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Christian Leader Says India Election Results are a Vote Against Extremism

Contact: Taun Cortado, Gospel for Asia, 972-300-3379
CARROLLTON, Texas, May 19 /Christian Newswire/ -- "The Indian election has sent a significant message that extremism, especially against minorities, is not going to be accepted in the country," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan after poll results were posted in the world's largest democracy.

"The Dalits ('Untouchables'), the 'other backward classes,' Christians and other minorities have spoken with a loud voice that abusing minorities is not the way to go."

At the same time that the India election results were announced, the government in neighboring Sri Lanka declared victory in the decades-long civil war in that country. Both developments impacted GFA work in the region.

In Sri Lanka, where GFA-supported native missionaries work with more than 100 churches, GFA workers are in the early stages of ministering to the thousands of men, women and children who have been driven from their homes and suffered both physical and emotional devastation in the fighting. GFA-supported missionaries have served on both sides, bringing hope and meeting needs during crisis times. They are thus in a unique position to help bring reconciliation to the former enemies.

"While this 30-year-long civil war has come to an end by the news of the Tamil Tigers' surrender, in reality this is the beginning of pain and crisis for hundreds of thousands of people who are displaced," Dr. Yohannan said. "There are 25,000 now in refugee camps, and the suffering is especially acute among the children and elderly.

"This is one of the greatest challenges and opportunities we have to minister to people in the name of Christ."

Dr. Yohannan asks for prayer for Sri Lanka in the wake of this conflict that took an estimated 70,000 lives. Further details about GFA response will be released as developments unfold.

In India, the moderate Congress Party and its allies won 260 seats in the 543-seat parliament with two races undecided--only 12 seats short of a majority. Dr. Yohannan said there were a number of smaller parties eager to join the coalition. The vote was a serious blow to those who would lead India down the road of religious intolerance and continued persecution of Christians.

The incumbent prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has vowed to lead a "stable, strong government which is committed to secular values," a refutation of extreme, religious-based nationalism.

The size of the vote against those advocating violence against Christians amazed the political pundits, who had predicted a close election with perhaps years of unstable and weak coalition governments in India's future.

"No one expected this," Dr. Yohannan noted. “The Congress party itself is surprised.”
But Dr. Yohannan said there was a clear explanation.

"Many political pundits are talking about the 'X' factor in this election, something unexpected that can turn the results. There was an X factor, and I believe it was God.

"There are 1.2 billion people in India," he explained. "They are very important to God, and He worked.

"So much prayer went up," he added. "Christians have been praying, and God answered their prayers. That's what happened."

As a result, K.P. said, "I believe that the prime minister will lead the country to greater freedom for minorities, their rights will be protected and the country will have greater economic good.

"But we need to continue to pray according to Romans 13--to pray for the government officials, that God will bless them and that Christians in India will have increased freedom to exercise their faith.

"Christians around the world should be concerned and in prayer for India, first of all because it is the key nation in the region," Dr. Yohannan noted. "What happens in India affects all of the surrounding countries--and ultimately the world.

"But beyond that, we need to pray for both India and Sri Lanka because of the Kingdom's work. India and South Asia are in the heart of the 10/40 window--the region of the world with the most people who have never heard the name of Jesus. Christians need to be in prayer that the doors will remain open to share the message of God's love with Asia's lost billions."

Gospel for Asia is an evangelical mission organization based in Carrollton involved in sharing the love of Jesus across South Asia.