A group of right wing Hindus is throwing its support behind Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Members of the Hindu Sena group held a colorful prayer ritual Wednesday in New Delhi, asking for the gods to let the real estate mogul become the next U.S. president.
The ceremony featured a small fire encircled by photos of Trump with a red dot on his forehead, a common way to bless someone in India.
“Going by the statements of Donald Trump, we believe he will be the lone protector of mankind,” Vishnu Gupta, Hindu Sena’s president, told Reuters.
Trump recently mocked an Indian accent while inveighing against outsourcing American jobs. India is home to many customer service call centers serving American companies.
There is a possibility the group is rallying behind the reality TV star because of his controversial comments about Islamic extremists. Some extreme factions of right-wing Hindus have been associated with violent attacks on Muslims in India.
Some less radical groups have courted controversy by banning beef production and reported forced conversions. There are more than 170 million Muslims in India, or about 15 percent of the total population.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, a member of the conservative Hindu party, Bharatiya Janata, has been linked to riots against Muslims in 2002 in the state of Gujarat where he was chief minister. The riots claimed more than 1,000 lives.
He was banned from entering the United States in 2005 because of his alleged role in the violence. The ban was later lifted, and Modi made a U.S. visit in 2014.
Modi is not associated with Hindu Sena.