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Indian Bishops condemn attack on Hindu temple


The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) has condemned Tuesday's attack on the Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar that killed 40 and injured more than 60 people.

In a statement released yesterday, they expressed the Christian Community's horror at the fact that the killings took place in a place of worship, where hundreds of devotees had gathered for prayer and spiritual solace.

Militants armed with AK-47s and grenades burst into the temple complex where about 100 Hindu worshippers had gathered on Tuesday afternoon. They opened fire indiscriminately before seizing control of the main temple building.

Expressing his deep sadness at the horrible tragedy, the President of the CBCI, Archbishop Cyril Mar Baselios said, "The killing of innocent devotees in the temple is a blatant attempt on the part of anti-social and anti-democratic forces to disturb the religious harmony of the country."

"The Church is appalled at the attack on the Swaminarayan Temple," he said. "I offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of devotees, killed by the terrorists and to the injured. Such acts can never be justified and they must be condemned by all in the strongest terms possible."

The Secretary General of the CBCI, Bishop Percival Fernandes, expressing his deep shock at the attack said, "It is an attack on our secular and democratic traditions and on the heritage of religious harmony of India."

The CBCI's statement appealed to all people in the country to maintain peace and harmony, calling upon the Central and the State Governments to provide adequate protection for places of worship all over the country.

LINKS
Indian PM appeals for calm (BBC)
Gunmen kill 29 Hindus in temple raid (The Guardian)
BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha | Temple Carnage
Catholic Bishops' Conference of India

SOURCE
Catholic Bishops' Conference of India

26 Sep 2002