Like these children, the precious little ones attending the Bridge of Hope center in Haryana are able to receive an education and learn about Jesus. However, ethno-religious tensions have temporarily shut down the center.
A Gospel for Asia Bridge of Hope center was temporarily shut down in Haryana, India, because of ongoing ethnic tension in the area.
Two ethno-religious communities within the Sikh religion have been on the verge of fighting each other over religious doctrines. A few weeks ago, the tension led to violence in Haryana, and one person was killed. Because the Bridge of Hope center in the area has children from both of the communities, it was closed as a safety precaution.
The strife involves a dispute between Sikhs from two different ethnic backgrounds—the Jats and the Deras.
About one third of the Jats living in South Asia follow Sikhism. They are the largest single ethnic group within the Sikh faith.
The Deras follow a controversial sect led by Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh. He leads an organization called Dera Sacha Sauda. He recently caused a stir when he began to copy various Sikh practices and adopted the dress of a Sikh guru, implying that he had the place of a guru. This has led to the unrest in Haryana and Punjab and other areas of North India. In some places, there were even riots between the Deras and the Jats.
This widespread conflict has affected the nearby Bridge of Hope center in Haryana and has the potential to continue to make things difficult for GFA missionaries across the region.
GFA missionaries and Bridge of Hope workers request prayer for a peaceful solution to the conflict. They also ask Christians to pray specifically for the protection of the children and staff of the Bridge of Hope center in Haryana.