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BAPS holds Special Prayer Assembly for Mumbai Terror Attack Victims


Hundreds of Indian-American community attended the Special Prayer Assembly to offer their prayers for the innocent victims and their loved ones in the recent Mumbai terrorist attack. The Assembly held at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Lilburn on Sunday November 30, was graced by the presence of Consul General of Great Britain to Atlanta Martin Rickerd, Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States Reda Mansour and honorary Consul General of India to the United States in Georgia Kenneth Cutshaw and family members..

The dignified assembly commenced with the uplifting Vedic prayers seeking global peace and was followed by bhajans (Vaishanava Janato), traditional dhun by BAPS Yuvaks and Kishores. 

Pankaj Patel and Yogi Patel who emceed the event, and Pujya Shantmurti Swami spoke briefly on the importance of faith, hope, peace, equanimity and unity in these turbulent times. Yogi Patel conveyed the message of condolence and sympathy and appeal for peace and calm, from Pramukh Swami Maharaj. Swamiji had also emphasized that violence is not the answer to terrorism and had assured his full support to all enduring the aftermath of this horrific attack. He went on to introduce the distinguished guests.

“We are here today, first and foremost, to pray for the victims,” said Consul General Rickerd.”Whoever they are and wherever they come from, their loss is incalculable to the family and friends they leave behind Mumbai is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities.This callous,inhuman and indiscriminate attack on it is an attack on all of us. The British Prime Minister, Rt.Hon.Gordon Brown has sent his sympathy and support to the Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and people of India. More than 200 including 20 foreigners have lost their lives. But no victim’s life is worth more than any other. International community must work together to end this. We should not let this specter of violence threaten the values of civilized community" he declared.

“It is sad that while many pray to God, some continue to kill in the name of God,” said Mr.Reda Mansour, “Mumbai is heart of India -a city that symbolizes democracy, freedom, enterprise, pluralism and open society. We take this tragic loss in a personal way not because of the loss of Israelis but because we live in a globalized world. We must come together to find a peaceful way and resolve not to bow down to the terrorists”

“It is a very challenging task for the leadership of India to seek answers, to seek peaceful resolution," said Mr. Kenneth Cutshaw. “On behalf of the Indian Government, I thank you for being here and offer my heartfelt prayers for families who have lost their loved ones. Let these prayers have purpose and meaning as we go on with our lives’ he concluded.

PR Chair of BAPS, Ritesh Desai invited the distinguished guests together with media representatives Ravi Ponangi and Mahadev Desai and Pujya Munitilak Swami on stage to light the Peace(Shraddhanjali) Lamps-to rekindle hope, courage, and leadership and provide stability. After lighting the lamps, they performed the arti. 

Two minutes silence was observed, followed with Shanti-path by Shantmurti Swami. The Assembly concluded with the playing of national anthems of India and the United States.

This type of prayer assembly has been organized at over 650 BAPS Mandirs worldwide, where followers have come together to pray for peace, strength and stability.

BAPS PR team of Ritesh Desai, Mitesh Patel, Jayantibhai Patel, and Sheetal Desai, to name a few, together with highly disciplined and dedicated volunteers deserve special plaudits for their warm hospitality and courteousness,and for organizing a very impressive and befitting Prayer Assembly. 


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