India Militants Threaten To Kill Missionary And To Harm Evangelicals

Monday, June 4, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Suspected Hindu militants have threatened to kill a native missionary and to attack dozens of evangelical Christians in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, a major mission group has said.

In comments monitored by BosNewsLife Saturday, June 2, Gospel for Asia (GFA) said the militants threatened to kill one of its missionaries, Daya Marandi, if he does not leave the area "where he is currently ministering."

They also want "to harm about 60 people who worship at a GFA-affiliated church where Daya serves as pastor", the group said. "The extremists are demanding that believers in the church denounce Christianity and return to their former religions."

It was unclear Saturday, June 2, which group was behind the alleged threat. Several Hindu organizations opposes the spread of Christianity among especially 'Dalits', seen as the 'lowest caste' in India's centuries old system of Hinduism.


GFA President K.P. Yohannan said the threats were made after "extremists" learned that Daya was purchasing land to construct a church. The extremists allegedly tried to get the landowner to back out of the sale and even tried to purchase the land themselves.

When their attempts to halt the land purchase failed, militants became angry and the situation escalated, GFA investigators claimed. Yohannan said he had asked fellow Christians around the world to pray "earnestly" for Daya and his church.

Despite the tensions, he made clear that GFA wanted to remain active in Uttar Pradesh as it has "a population of about 150 million people and is one of the most unreached states [with the Gospel] in all of India."


These are no isolated incidents. Two other GFA missionaries working in Uttar Pradesh were also attacked by militants but managed to escape "unharmed". One of the most well-known cases against missionaries was in 1999 in the state of Orissa where Australian missionary Graham Steines and his two young sons were killed by an angry mob.

GFA claims to support over 16,500 church planters in 10 countries across Asia who it says established about 30,000 churches among unreached villages and people groups. The organization also trains native missionaries at its 54 Bible colleges.

Christians comprise just over two percent of India’s mainly Hindu population of 1.1. billion people, according to several estimates. (With BosNewsLife Research and reporting from India).

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