Indian Right-Wing Lobby Group Tries to Set Up U.S. Hindu Prayer Sessions for Donald Trump's Re-election

A fringe right-wing Hindu organization, which has reportedly held prayers in India for Donald Trump's re-election, appears to have tried to arrange similar events in the U.S.

A branch of Hindu Sena approached Los Angeles-based author Saurav Dutt via Twitter and email on Wednesday, asking him to consider holding a havan and puja—a sacred Hindu ritual—in the Californian city to show support for a Trump victory.

After refusing the request, Dutt, told Newsweek: "The idea of holding fire rituals for Trump and conducting a 'puja' makes a mockery of a religious identity and heritage that I hold very dear to my spiritual beliefs."

It comes after reports, by TV news station India Today, that the organization held prayers for the incumbent Republican president in Indian cities, including Allahabad and Delhi, ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

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Hindu priests perform rituals during prayers organised by Hindu Sena, a far-right Hindu group, seeking blessings from gods and to unite India and the United States of America against radical Islamic fanatics, in New Delhi on February 24, 2020. Hindu Sena has been holding prayers in the days leading up to Donald Trump's reelection. Sajjad HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images

Hindu Sena, which was founded in 2011, has previously thrown events in honor of Trump. This includes praying that the then-presidential candidate would win the 2016 election and reportedly throwing him a birthday party, complete with a colourful cake and campaign posters, at the famous Jantar Mantar monument in New Delhi.

In the email, which has yet to be verified by Newsweek, a Hindu Sena member who signed his name Pratik, told Dutt, a British-Indian writer, that Hindu Sena would be performing "a havan and puja for Trump victory" in the coming days.

Pratik went onto to say that the organization can ensure "many people" come out to support Trump at similar events in LA.

Asking whether Dutt would "help organise something" in LA, Pratik offered to put the author "in touch with a few people who can hold havans and pujas outside voting centres." He also asked: "Can you think of other good places to hold these?"

"All we are looking for is to do this with mantras, ghee, some fire, flowers and diyas and if you can bring MAGA hats and good pictures of Mr Trump and family, we can do something then?"

Dutt refused the request, telling Newsweek that Hindu Sena has an "unsavoury brand of right-wing lunatic religiosity."

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The organization also sent the author a tweet asking him to hold prayers for Donald Trump. Twitter/Dutt

He said: "I can empathise with those with such fervent beliefs in politics and this election that they want to pray for, or against, a candidate but in these challenging times the idea of holding fire rituals for Trump and conducting a 'puja' makes a mockery of a religious identity and heritage that I hold very dear to my spiritual beliefs.

"Coming only weeks after the traditional festivals of Diwali and Navratri, the idea of praying for Trump and the Republican Party and using this age old religion for purely political means turns my stomach."

He continued to say that groups such as Hindu Sena are considered a "joke" in India, and that the U.S. "does not need to validate or import such nonsensical partisan worship on the streets of Los Angeles."

Dutt added: "Such a group, such an initiative, makes a joke of U.S. politics, the issues at stake in this election, Hinduism, India, and COVID-19 with their socially undistanced, unprincipled and unsavoury brand of right-wing lunatic religiosity."

Newsweek has contacted Hindu Sena Sitamarhi for comment.

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Hindu priests perform rituals during prayers organised by Hindu Sena, a far-right Hindu group, seeking blessings from gods and to unite India and the United States of America against radical Islamic fanatics, in New Delhi on February 24, 2020. The group have tried to organise a prayer in LA. SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images