India (MNN) — The All-India
Christian Council says Hindu extremists have offered a bounty on Christian
A spokesman for the AICC went on
record saying, "People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy
churches and Christian properties."
Dr. Faiz Rahman, chairman of Good
News India, notes on his Web site that the last wave of violence left 9,000
Christian homes and businesses destroyed, more than 300 churches destroyed, and almost
300 believers martyred. There are roughly 100,000 people hiding in the jungles,
with no food, water or shelter — many of them forced to leave their crops
unharvested in the fields as winter approaches.
Rahman agrees with the AICC's report. According to his information, the going price to kill a pastor is U.S.
$2,500, and the price to kill a resistant Christian lay leader is U.S. $1000. The refugees have also been told not to come back unless they become
The new reports are alarming. Dave
Stravers is with Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Mission India. While he couldn't
directly confirm the bounty, he says, "It is entirely in keeping with our
observations on the ground. Every town,
village and city has posters that immortalize the swami who was killed, who had
urged the extinction of Christians. On every poster it says, 'Stop
At its height, the violence
spilled out of Orissa and spread to 14 other states. Rather than settling down, it looks like
another wave of violence is coming. "There was a huge rally, about 10,000 people, and they're urging the government, 'Stop the Christians.' And
they promised that they would launch another attack by Christmas Day."
Stravers says Mission India is shifting
their resources to safer areas of ministry. "Christians cannot gather
openly. In this case, it's best to not be provocative. So the literacy classes and some of the
Children's Bible Clubs have been stopped, and some church planters have been
reassigned to other locations."
Pray that militant influences in
the government will continue to decrease and that freedom of religion will be
recognized throughout India. Pray, too,
for the safety of believers working in India, often falsely accused of forcible