Varanasi, April 26 : Social activists and civil society groups gathered in the Ambedkar Park near the district headquarters in the Hindu city of Varanasi on April 24, 2019 to pray together for those who died in the Easter day attacks in the churches and hotels in Srilanka. They also remembered the Muslims who became victims of ethnic xenophobia in New Zealand last month. Theatre artistes of Prerna Kala Manch (Art Forum for Inspiration) along with novices of the Sisters of the Queen of Apostles sang bhajans (religious hymns) common to all. They also sang Gandhi’s bhajan “Ishwar Allah Tero Nam, Sabko Sammati De Bhagawan” asking God of all to give His wisdom to people who want to take revenge in the name of religious faith. Scripture passages were read by representatives of various religions from Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Sikh religions.

Well known social activist Fr. Louis Prakash SJ addressed the people of all religions asking them to continue to pray for Srilanka which after decades of ethnic violence has been coming on the path of progress and peace and this event has shaken the island nation badly. At the end of the one hour prayer meeting, Fr. Anand IMS, the coordinator of Sajha Sanskriti Manch (United Forum for Cultural Diversity) , which organized this prayer appealed people to stand up with lighted candles in their hands to pay homage to the victims, esp. innocent children who lost their lives before they could blossom, and to pray for the many hundreds who are in the hospitals with mutilated bodies. The group prayed in silence with emotions of pain and sympathy welling up. Finally with a resolution to work for peace and reconciliation, the group sang in one voice the Hindi version of the universal peace song “We shall overcome”. They placed the lighted candles in front of the large statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar. Sardar Gurinder Singh, Dr. Arif Muhammad, Dr. Muniza Rafiq Khan, Jagriti Rahi, Dr Anoop Shramik, Aflatoon, Ravi Shekhar, poet Salim Shivalvi, Moosa Azmi, Fathers Mathew Kayani, Subhash, Dilraj, Deenbandhu, Dayakar, Jayant Russel, Chetan, Amarnath, Sisters from various religious congregations, seminarians, social activists of various social organizations, artistes and singers participated in the prayer meeting.

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