05/31/2019, 10.06
INDIA
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Modi sworn in for second term. Persecution of minorities continues

In addition to the prime minister, the 57 ministers sworn in at the presidential palace yesterday. Among the most important new faces, that of the president of Bharatiya Janata Party Amit Shah. In April 2019 there were 35 attacks against Christians. Last in order was yesterday, when a pastor was taken into police custody.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Over 8 thousand guests, including foreign heads of state and famous Bollywood stars; about 10 thousand policemen deployed in the capital, of which 2 thousand along the route of the prime minister's procession; suspended traffic; districts of the capital closed from 16 to 19. All of these measures yesterday for the swearing-in ceremony for the second term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 58, re-elected with a plebiscite vote to the Government of India.

The ceremony took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace in New Delhi, in the presence of President Ram Nath Kovind. Before the start, Modi went to the war memorial near the Parliament. "India - he said - is proud of all these courageous men and women made martyrs while they were on duty". Then he added: "Our government will leave no stone unturned to safeguard the unity and integrity of India. National security is our priority ”.

In addition to the leader of the Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), they have sworn in 57 ministers, whose future assignment will be established in the coming days. Among the political figures there are some well-known faces of the party. Among the most important, Amit Shah, 54, president of the BJP: he is the strong man of the party, the one who from behind the scenes organized the electoral campaign, realizing Modi's re-election. A new face of the nationalist movement is also that of Smriti Irani, with the merit of having torn the Amethi district from Rahul Gandhi, leader of the main opposition party Congress Party, and from his family that had held it for 15 years.

Confirmations include Rajnath Singh, 67, former Interior Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, 59, former Defense Minister, and Nitin Gadkari, 62, Transport Minister in Modi's first term. Among the most significant defections, those of former Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (the strategist of the fiscal maneuver known as "demonetization"), niether of whom ran for re-election for health reasons.

The main challenges facing the new government are the economic and employment crisis, rural poverty and respect for religious minorities.  Modi promised in his swearing in speech that he wanted to work for all sectors of society. "Such a huge mandate also increases responsibilities," he said.

However yesterday the updated numbers on violence against the Christian minority were released. According to the Violence Monitor report, in April 2019 there were 35 attacks against Christians. Speaking to AsiaNews AC Michael, New Delhi activist and director of development at ADF India (Alliance Defending Freedom), says: "The situation is dramatic. If in 2018 we had an average of 20 cases of violence against Christians, in the first four months of 2019 the average is 30 ".

The last episode, reports the Christian leader, "took place just yesterday. The Rev. Roopsen of the Assemblies of Believers Church [protestant] of Raibareli, Uttar Pradesh, was taken into custody by the police and charged under article 151 of the Indian Penal Code [social peace disorder]. He was later released after paying the bail out of his own pocket. However they threatened him with worse consequences if he were to continue preaching in the district. "

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