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Christians, Bishops in India Pray for their New President Ram Nath Kovind

Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 13:06 (IST)

Christians in India, including the bishops congratulated the country's newly elected president, Ram Nath Kovind, and insisted him to live out the presidential oath he will take for the well-being of the public.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed party's chosen candidate is now the president of the nation. Last week, in a statement the Indian bishops offered congratulations to Kovind, promising him "of our prayers for his good health and for wisdom and strength that he might guide our beloved country towards peace, development and justice for all peoples."

"We pray that God may assist him, that, as per the Oath of Office, he will strive 'to the best of his ability to preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law, and that he will devote himself to the service and well-being of the people of the Republic of India.'"

India's presidential election was held July 17 to July 20, with the final votes.

The election comes in the wake of a number of violent attacks and murders, including mob lynching those accused of eating beef, which goes against the beliefs of the country's Hindu majority.

Attacks against minorities, particularly Christians and Muslims, are not uncommon in India. The minorities face jeering, violence, forced conversions, and the burning of property, as they are considered alien to the nation.

In 2009, Kovind opposed the Ranganath Mishra commission (National Religious and Linguistic Minorities Commission) that had recommended including Dalit Christians and Muslims in the Scheduled Caste category.

While addressing a press conference in March 2010, he had said, "Islam and Christianity are alien" to India and, therefore, the recommendation would make Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims "eligible to contest elections on reserved seats under backward class reservation."

"Including Muslims and Christians in the Scheduled Castes category will be unconstitutional," said Kovind, according to IANS.

Kovind is also close to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.