12/14/2018, 14.20
INDIA
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First time for Christian prayers at Mizoram swearing-in ceremony

The event is set for tomorrow. Bible readings and Gospel-inspired hymns will accompany the mandatory national anthem. A choir from a leprosy group will sing a special "Hallelujah". Christians represent over 87 per cent of the State’s population.

Aizawl (AsiaNews/Agencies) - For the first time in the history of Mizoram, a State located in north-eastern India, Christian prayers will be read during the swearing-in ceremony of the new State government. In addition to the mandatory national anthem, the ceremony will include songs inspired by the Gospel and Bible prayers.

Rev Lalhmingthanga, president of the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), an association of some 16 Christian Churches, said that a special "Hallelujah" will be sung by a choir from a leprosy group.

Recent state elections saw the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffer major losses in key states, to the benefit of the Indian National Congress. In the case of Mizoram, the Mizo National Front (MNF) won as pre-election opinion polls had predicted.

Its leader Zoramthanga took the oath of office this afternoon as Chief Minister at Government House (Raj Bhavan) in the State capital of Aizawl, whilst the state cabinet will be sworn in tomorrow.

The ceremony will include the mandatory Indian national anthem along with Christian hymns, Gospel-inspired songs and Bible readings. "We are doing it for the first time," noted Lalruatkima, a newly elected State Assembly Member for the MNF.

Based on the 2011 census, Christians are a majority of the population of Mizoram (87.16 per cent), followed by Buddhists (8.5 per cent) and Hindus (2.7 per cent).

The MNF won 26 seats in the 40-membe State Assembly. Eight seats went to the Zoram People's Movement and five to the Congress Party (which had been in power). The BJP won only one seat, its first in the history of the State.

Local Churches were influential in the vote, and the BJP was seen as too close to Hindutva, Hindu nationalist ideology. The dissatisfaction over “sacred cows” slaughter was another factor.

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