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Election ink - Photo: Flickr/UN Women Asia and the Pacific
Citizens in India are marked
on their finger with
indelible ink after voting.
Photo: Flickr/UN Women Asia
and the Pacific (cc)

A prayer meeting that took place at a home in the state of Tamil Nadu was disrupted on March 19th by a mob affiliated with Hindu nationalist movements. The intruders demanded to know what was happening and then dragged those participating onto the street.

Neethiraj, a missionary with the India Evangelical Mission, had been visiting the home of a student in the city of Hosur to pray for a sick youth. As part of the incident, Neethiraj's bag, which contained Christian tracts, was emptied on the street. The attackers then gathered Bibles and hymnals from the home and forced the missionary to set them on fire.

The rise of Hindu nationalism in India remains a major issue for anyone who does not practise the Hindu faith. As India is in the middle of its national election process, Christians in many areas of the country are concerned about the rhetoric being used by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Milan Vaishnav from the Carnegie Endowment of International Peace network says, "One of the important things this election is going to determine is India's future as a secular republic that embraces pluralism and adheres to the founders' notion that India's unity is strengthened by its diversity." The incumbent prime minister, Narendra Modi, is a member of the BJP, which has held a majority in the national government during recent years.

The election process, with 900 million eligible voters, started on April 11th and will continue in various regions of the country until May 19th. For more information on the persecution facing Christians in India, go to our country report.

Please be mindful to intercede for India's elections over the next month. May those seeking to govern the country be prepared to respect its secular constitution and protect all people, regardless of religion. Pray for the ongoing outreach of the Gospel throughout the country, including the ministry of Neethiraj.