Insurgents Threaten to Kill Missionaries and Evangelical Leaders

New Delhi, India -- Insurgents in India are threatening to start killing evangelical leaders, and "totally destroy" the country's leading missionary organization unless it pays a ransom of $186,000 dollars to avoid the bloodshed.

In a statement, insurgents say they will target US-backed Gospel For Asia (GFA) and especially the organization's five Bible Colleges, 70 Bridge of Hope schools, and over 750 Believers Church congregations in India's troubled north eastern state of Assam.

A senior GFA official who recently visited the area said he took the threats serious, but did not indicate whether the demanded ransom would be paid to the insurgents.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the threats, but analysts say Assam has been scarred by violence from militants of mainly the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) and in more recent years the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The ULFA wants independence for Assam while the NDBF seeks an own state carved out of the region.


In addition there has been an increase in Hindu militant activities across India as part of a new "violent hate-campaign" against India's religious minorities, said the advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians Monday, March 7.

Several Christian leaders and Bible students have been killed or injured in recent weeks, church representatives said.

"You are strictly warned that if you do not respect our organization or if you approach the [government], you will be calling for your total destruction," the insurgents said in the letter shown to BosNewsLife. Its authenticity could not immediately be verified.


GFA missionaries are known to have been threatened by insurgent groups in northeastern India, and several pastors have been killed by them.

"Some Christian ministries have urged us to leave [as they did] but our leaders on the scene say that if we pull out, no one will be there to share the Gospel and minister to the people," said GFA in a statement.

Negotiations were reportedly still ongoing between the insurgents and GFA to avoid a crackdown. The organization supports 14,000 native missionaries, who it claims are planting 10 churches a day in the region. There are currently at least 24 million Christians in India, just over 2 percent of India's total population, according church estimates.