India (MNN) — While Iran, Iraq, Virginia Tech, and other issues have been headlining news around the world, few news organizations have focused on the persecution of Christians in India.
According to reports, the number of attacks against Christians by Hindu extremists has increased at an alarming rate through the first four months of 2007; a reported total of 113 incidents have been recorded since January 1, 2007. Mobs of Hindus are allegedly responsible for many of these attacks.
However, the work of Back to the Bible International-India isn't stopped. Country Director Prem Swaroop says. "At present we are doing the radio program through short-wave, medium wave, and also we are on TV in English and Tamil. We are going to launch on FM radio in Hyderabad and Delhi."
According to Swaroop, while tensions are high between Christians and Hindus, the FM programming will share the Gospel in a subtle way. "We can do a song-based program, and in between we can read Scripture — the Bible. That permission we have received.
The only hindrance to starting this new outreach is funding for airtime. "Each program for a half hour costs about 10,000 rupees. That's about $225 per half hour program. And we need to make an agreement with the authorities for one year."
That's $11,700 for just one year of broadcasting.
This would be a first for India, says Swaroop. "There are no Christian radio programs on FM radio which are regularly aired. There are some programs that come out at Christmas time, Good Friday, or Easter. We're looking at doing a program every week."
While Back to the Bible is broadcasting in nine languages, they're not doing it alone. Swaroop says they're strategically working with other Christian broadcasters. "We're all hooked together doing 155 languages. That is only 10-percent of the languages of India that we have touched. We are concerned about the 90-percent who are still in darkness."
While persecution is a concern, Swaroop says, "Whenever there is persecution, people come close to the Lord. Their dependency on God is increased."
Pray that churches will grow during this time of persecution.