Suriname's newly-elected President, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, took the oath in Sanskrit while holding Vedas during the inauguration ceremony on July 16. The Indian-origin Santokhi also repeated the Sanskrit verses chanted by the priest. He has become the ninth president of the South American country after replacing Desi Bouterse from the top post.
A video of the inauguration ceremony has gone viral on the internet with congratulatory messages pouring in for Chandrikapersad Santokhi.
Who is Chandrikapersad Santokhi?
Born on February 3, 1959, in Suriname's Lelydorp, Santokhi received a scholarship to study in the Netherlands. He studied at the Police Academy of the Netherlands and returned to the South American country to work for the police. Since the age of 23, Santokhi worked as a police inspector. In 1989, he was appointed as head of the national criminal investigation department and later in 1991 he became the chief commissioner of police.
In September 2005, Santokhi was sworn in as Minister of Justice and Police on behalf of the Progressive Reform Party. During his tenure, he was known for being a no-nonsense officer and also cracked down crime in the country.
Interestingly, the country is a former Dutch colony where people of Indian descent make up the largest ethnic group comprising 27.4 per cent of the population of 587,000.
Earlier, Spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar congratulated Art of Living (Suriname) President Krishna Mathoera on becoming the Defense Minister of the country. "Congratulations to Krishna Mathoera, President, @ArtofLiving Suriname, on becoming the Minister of Defence, Suriname. I wish her all success & good health," he tweeted.