Sadhana Coalition of Progressive Hindus is deeply concerned about the recent swearing-in of Adityanath to the position of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state with a population exceeding 200 million. Adityanath, who uses the title 'Yogi" to denote his role as a priest, was appointed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swept the most recent state elections, claiming 312 of 403 legislative seats.
Adityanath’s self-declared and openly stated Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) positions clearly indicate an administration that will place the vilification of Muslims as central to their policy-making. He has advocated for shutting all slaughterhouses in the state and placing statues of Hindu deities in every mosque. Adityanath also praised the Trump administration's Muslim ban, and called upon the Indian government to take similar actions. At one speech of his, he said, “When I speak, thousands listen ... When I ask them to rise and protect our Hindu culture, they obey. If I ask for blood, they will give me blood... I will not stop till I turn UP and India into a Hindu rashtra [state]."
Despite describing himself simply as a “religious missionary” and “social worker", Adityanath owns a rifle, revolver, and assets worth over $100,000 -- odd for someone who wears saffron robes and claims to be a sannyasi. According to one count, he has at least 18 criminal charges registered against him, including attempted murder, criminal intimidation, rioting, defiling places of worship, and promoting enmity between different groups.
In an article on Scroll.in, journalist Ajaz Ashraf writes that now,
“Hindus have been offered a choice: Do they accept the instrumental use of their religion to capture [political] power?”
As progressive Hindus who hold ahimsa (non-violence), ekatva (oneness of all), and seva (selfless service) as our core values, Sadhana vehemently denounces the selection of this particular individual to the position of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister. This creates and promotes an agenda that scapegoats a vulnerable minority community and legitimizes violence against them. He does not represent the Hinduism we believe in, and we call on all progressive Hindus to stand up against him and all other advocates of violence and intolerance.