Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her two Sikh bodyguards in Delhi. It was 1984. Tony had left the ship and was travelling back to New Zealand via India with his Korean friend, Sebastian Kim. He was in Ranchi, Bihar when it happened. Riots broke out all over the country. There were over 3,000 Sikhs killed.
Tony and Sebastian had to stay in their room until the riots were over. When they were able to get out, three days later, they were shocked to see that every single Sikh shop and house had been razed to the ground. Not one brick was left standing on another. Mobs poured into Sikh neighbourhoods carrying clubs, kerosene and iron rods. They killed any Sikh men or women they could find. They were pulled off buses and trains and beaten or burnt alive.
The guys were on a tight budget so they slept on floors and in all kinds of buildings. After the riots they went onto the streets of Ranchi with picture story cards, sharing the story of Jesus. Hundreds of people crowded around them in a matter of minutes.
One morning, in Bangalore, Tony prayed that somehow he would be able to share his story with millions of people. Later on that day, a man asked him for directions to the Far East Broadcasting Association. Tony knew where it was and they got talking. He was interested in Tony’s journey and invited him to do a radio interview at the studio. He found out later that his story had been heard by millions all over India and South East Asia. His prayer had been answered within 24 hours.
Tony, Sebastian, a Cockney guy and a translator visited the infamous brothels of Grant Road, Mumbai. 200,000 sex workers lived in misery and squalor. Most of them had been tricked into being there; promised the world and taken to “Bollywood.” Some girls were as young as 9 years old. They were trapped until the brothel owner had earned enough, or they contracted a disease. They were subjected to physical and mental torture and there was no way of escape.
It took them a while to accept that Tony and his friends were not there to exploit them. They sat and listened to Bible stories from Genesis to the resurrection of Jesus. They listened so quietly; hungry for the freedom they were hearing about. Many bought Bibles and wanted prayer.
On this second trip, Tony was moved again by India and her people. There was so much hunger for truth and peace. Everywhere he went, there was need. He wanted to help in some way but wasn’t sure exactly how. He just knew he was going to be back.