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Indian bishops condemn terrorism on Mumbai streets

Expressing shock following the deaths of more than 44 people, India's Catholic bishops condemned those responsible for the two powerful explosions that struck Mumbai (formerly Bombay) within minutes of each other yesterday afternoon.

"We condemn this terror act. We are shocked by this," Catholic Bishops Conference of India Secretary-General Bishop Percival Fernandes told Catholic World News. "The people here are in shock and anxious, as there are rumors of more blasts."

Bishop Fernandes pointed out that people "still haunted" by the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993, when half a dozen simultaneous bomb blasts rocked the city claiming, over 200 lives. This came as a sequel to the Hindu-Muslim riots in Mumbai that had claimed over 2000 lives, after Hindu zealots pulled down the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya in December 1992. The mosque had been built in the 16th century, Hindu groups said, since Muslims or that era had demolished a Hindu temple previously standing there, marking the birthplace of the Hindu god Ram.

Although no one has yet claimed responsibility for the latest bomb blasts, media sources speculate that the bombing may be linked to a federal government report backing the Hindu claims to the Ayodhya site. The government's archeological department had presented a report confirming that a Hindu temple had existed on the site where the mosque was later built and demolished in its turn.

Catholic World News

Twin blasts cause Bombay carnage (BBC)
Catholic Bishops Conference of India

26 Aug 2003