On March 19, 2017, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came into power as the ruling party in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh under the leadership of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister. Yogi Adityanath, a controversial BJP leader, is a firebrand Hindu monk and head of the Gorakhnath order of Hinduism. He has frequently been accused of instigating communal hatred toward religious minorities and has led multiple riots in the state. Since 2005, he has led Ghar-Wapas (Homecoming), an aggressive purification movement against Christians that openly advocates violent attacks on religious minorities to keep them in their place.
“Yogi Adityanath has several criminal cases against him,” The Times of India, a leading Indian Newspaper, reports. “Some of the charges include rioting, attempt to murder, carrying deadly weapons, endangering the life or personal safety of others, unlawful assembly, trespassing on burial places and criminal intimidation.”
While the whole country is stunned by Yogi Adityanath’s appointment as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the BJP has given a clear message to the nation that they intend to rope in aggressive hardliners and push the agenda of transforming India into a Hindu nation. The overwhelming victory in the recently concluded assembly elections has emboldened them to aggressively pursue their agenda.
Many dangerous men with criminal backgrounds have also been placed in key positions to carry out this agenda. These developments have made Protestant Christians in the country very vulnerable and prayers are greatly needed. In the entire year of 2016, 443 violent attacks were reported in India; this year, the number of incidents in January and February alone was reported to be 163.
Father, we give You praise for the many ways the gospel is going forth in great power in India. Yet, where the gospel is going forward, often there is great opposition, and we pray today for the nation of India where the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party are moving forward aggressively to transform India into a Hindu nation. We pray against these efforts and we pray for the safety of Christians who have been victims of many attacks this year. We pray for the pastors and leaders of Your churches in states where this opposition is great. And even in the midst of hostility, we pray that the transforming power of Christ’s gospel will move across the vast nation of India in great might, proclaiming the name of Christ as Lord and King. In the name of Jesus, who reigns above all earthly rulers, Amen.