India: bishops appeal for calm after holy city bombings leave many dead

 The triple bomb blast in the holy city of Varanasi on Tuesday, claimed the lives of 23 innocent citizens including several children. Many more are battling for their lives at the hospital wards. According to media reports more than sixty civilians are admitted in various hospitals that suffered injuries at the blast sites. The dead and the injured were either worshippers at the Sankat Vimochan Temple or passengers waiting at the Varanasi Cantonment station. The heinous crime has sent shiver into the spine of our nation. The Speaker of the Indian Parliament Shri. Somnath Chatterjee condemned the "heinous acts of violence" in Varanasi and urged people to maintain communal harmony and peace. "The senseless acts of violence are being committed in a nefarious attempt to disturb the even tempo of our life and to affect India's unity and integrity," he said. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India's spokesperson, Fr Babu Joseph condemned the bomb blasts in Varanasi, which he said, "have killed innocent people and injured many. We pray for those killed and offer our heartfelt condolences to those who lost their near and dear ones." The CBCI appealed to the federal and state governments to take stringent measures to curb violence and ensure safety and security for all. Terming the act of bombing religious places of worship as a deplorable and terrible incident, Fr. Joseph said: "The Church in India appeals for calm and peace." The mindless violence stems from senseless vested interested political mobilisation. The political mobilisation of protests against recent Danish-Cartoons and the US President Bush's visit, in the most populous state where the blasts occurred gained communal colours. The state government abetted the raging fire for political mileage. Or else how can the government let go the minister who outrageously offered 100 million dollars to one who would behead the Danish cartoonist? Such absurd and ridiculous political activity creates space for despicable acts of violence that destroy innocent lives, wipe away a sense of security and undermine the integrity of the nation. The Hindu Nationalist party the BJP, which smells enough ammunition for the battle to win the forthcoming assembly elections in five states, has criticised the ruling Congress government for appeasing minorities and being soft on terrorists. The leader of the Opposition, Mr L K Advani has announced his intention of embarking national integration yatras, an euphemism for political mobilisation on communal lines. The vicious circle of communalization could be blocked if the citizens reject summarily the recipe of mingling religion with politics. The secular alliances and the saner elements in the society have an urgent task at hand.

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