Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mumbai Blasts Victims - Memorial Services

Memorial Services In Mumbai Honor And Pray For Victims of Rail Bombings

July 19, 2006

MUMBAI, India (UCAN) -- Mumbai, India's most populated city, came to a stop for two minutes on July 18. Sirens blared across this urban city in western India as people stood silently in homage to victims of the recent bomb blasts.

At 6:25 p.m. on July 11, seven blasts rocked the financial capital of India, killing about 200 people and injuring more than 700 others.

India's President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam joined the people of Mumbai in remembering the dead by placing a wreath at the spruced-up Mahim station, one of the blast sites. A memorial has also been erected at the station.

Flowers, wreaths, candles and placards denouncing terrorism adorned the stations on Mumbai's Western railway line. The bombs were placed aboard commuter cars along that line.

Bombay Catholic Sabha (forum) organized memorial services at four of the affected stations -- Borivili, Chembur, Jogeshwari, Matunga -- and at Wellingdon Catholic Gymkhana, a Catholic center near Khar station, which was also bombed.

About 200 people from various communities prayed at Wellingdon Catholic Gymkhana for the blast victims, and pledged to work for unity and peace.

Priya Dutt, a Member of Parliament, led the short service at the Catholic center, beginning with two minutes of silence. In her prayer, Dutt, a Hindu, remembered the victims and pledged to work for peace and harmony among all people irrespective of caste, creed or community.

She later told UCA News that the people's determination to maintain peace in the city had overwhelmed her. The "strength" to continue in peace and harmony despite adversaries, she said, "lies with the people, not the politicians."

Merck D'Silva said the prayer meeting he attended was a "symbolic gesture" that "will go a long way in showing that the people of Mumbai are united."

"Just a week after the terrible blasts, the city is back on its feet," he observed. "We saw people rising to the occasion and helping the victims get to hospitals. One didn't see policemen or officials, but the common people were coming with bedsheets, water and food ... their work is commendable."

Another participant, Felix Dias, said he was "surprised to see" how the city behaved the day after the blast. "People were going about their work as usual, and my daughter was going to college like any other day," he recalled. "Nothing can dampen such determination to move on."

Office work paused and drivers halted in traffic during the two-minute silence. At some places, people parked their vehicles and stood outside to mourn the blast victims.

Prayers for the victims were also offered by Cardinal Ivan Dias, a native of Mumbai (previously called Bombay). He led Bombay archdiocese until June, when he was named prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

In a message he sent for the occasion, Cardinal Dias assured prayers for the dead and those affected by the blasts. He also expressed "solidarity with all the God-fearing and peace-loving citizens of our beloved city of Mumbai in their sorrow and anxiety."

Meanwhile, Vasai diocese, a suffragan of Bombay archdiocese, conducted an all-religions prayer service on July 14 at the bishops' house. Bishop Thomas Dabre of Vasai also visited bereaved families of Hindus and Christians in his diocese and offered prayers for the deceased.

In a statement issued on his behalf, the bishop said he regrets "innocent citizens" made victims of "mindless violence and terrorist acts." He added that religious leaders must educate their people "in human and spiritual values that will create a society free of violence, cruelty and hatred."

Investigations blame Islamic terrorists for the blasts. Nine days after the blasts, however, no Islamic group have claimed responsibility.
Reproduced by
Konkani Catholics with permission from UCAN (

1 comment:

cassynaz said...

On Tuesday 18th July, exactly 7 days after the bombs exploded at 7 different places in Mumbai, we, the residents of IC Colony Sector 4 held a candelight memorial service to remember those who lost their lives and also to pray for those injured.
This memorial was held outside Unique Co-operative Housing Society at Cross road 6, the building which lost one of their residents, Mr. Sandford De Sales, to one of the bombs.
The memorial was also to help residents come to terms with this terrible tragedy that has wrecked havoc within the entire city of Mumbai.

From the crowd that attended, (there were well over 400 people) it was obvious that people were touched and had silently gathered to pray for peace.
Peace for the dead and the living.
Present at the memorial were people from different communities, both economic and religious.

A map of india was drawn on the ground and outlined with rose petals. Maharashtra was filled in with mogra flowers.An earthen lamp marked the Mumbai spot.
7 candles were lit to mark the 7 bombs that ripped apart our peaceful Mumbai exsistence.The memorial began with everyone present lighting and holding a candle.

As part of the service, a few hymns were sung in English and Hindi, readings were done from the Bhagwad Gita, Bible and Koran.
When the siren was sounded the 2 minutes of silence was observed with reverence, a hush descended on the group present as each was recalling the manner in which the blasts had effected them.
Some remembered near and dear family or friends lost in this sensless violence, others just prayed for the families affected.

At the end of the service the candles were laid out along the outline of the map of India.
It was touching to see people from other sectors visiting our spot to say a brief prayer.
People were heard exchanging notes on who in their immedieate circle of friends had been affected.
The general feeling was one of shock. The general atmosphere that day was a fervent plea to find peace.
A peace for body and soul.

similar memorials/prayers were held in all the other parish sectors of IC colony as well and were well attended.