‘Mumbai, unfortunately, has once again become a victim of senseless violence carried out by elements that are terribly misguided: this must be battled in every way.’ – Statement from the Indian bishops’ conference
Mr Mahant Mandal displays a photo of his brother Kishan, who was among those killed when three bombs exploded in central Mumbai on July 13. CNS photo
NEW DELHI – People from various religions attended a prayer service in Delhi archdiocese organised for the victims of the July 13 Mumbai bomb blasts.
“We include in our prayers those misguided elements who indulge in terror activities,” Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi told those who attended the July 16 service in front of Sacred Heart Cathedral.
“It is a very sad and unfortunate incident where innocent people have lost their lives,” he added.
Three near-simultaneous blasts on July 13 claimed 21 lives and wounded many people in Mumbai, India’s commercial capital. The blasts exploded at places packed with office workers and commuters.
Archdiocesan spokesman Fr Dominic Emmanuel, who organised the programme, said people should not only condemn such attacks but also pray for terrorists so that they change their minds and work for peace and reconciliation.
The day after the blasts, Indian bishops called for unity in the country’s fight against terrorism.
“We believe this is a moment in which the entire nation needs to be united in order to face terrorism with the greatest resolve. United in the spirit of brotherhood, we will be able to overcome the powers that are trying to destabilise our country,” said the statement from the Indian bishops’ conference.
The statement, published by the Vatican missionary news agency Fides, condemned the bomb attacks as “shameful acts”.
The bishops offered condolences to the families of the dead and expressed hope for a speedy recovery of the injured, many of whom were rushed to the city’s hospitals.
“Violence is never an enduring solution to any social problem, and to indulge in violence only brings misery to other human beings. Mumbai, unfortunately, has once again become a victim of senseless violence carried out by elements that are terribly misguided: this must be battled in every way,” the statement said.
The bishops appealed to the Indian government to do everything possible to stop the terrorists. The entire Indian society, they said, should work together to oppose the “nefarious designs of criminal groups” in the country.
In 2008, Mumbai was struck by a series of bombing and shooting attacks by terrorists that left 166 people dead.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai told Vatican Radio that people in the city had responded to the latest attacks with a spirit of cooperation. “People come out to help regardless of religion, caste, community, race. Everybody comes together to help those who are in difficulty,” he said.
Members of other Christian organisations also made their views heard.
“These explosions are the handiwork of terrorists. With its volatile neighbourhood, India has been a repeated target of terrorist activity,” said Mr John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council.
Mr Samuel Jaikumar of the National Council of Churches in India expressed concern over security arrangements in the country. “There is a serious lapse in the security system in the country. Our intelligence has to be better,” he said. - UCANEWS.COM, CNS