Human chain for peace in Mumbai

By staff writers
December 11, 2008

A 'human chain for peace' is being organised by Catholics in Mumbai tomorrow, following the recent terrorist attacks.

'Join hands for unity' is the slogan being used by the association Bombay Catholic Sabha, which is formed by the majority of the Catholic laity in the city.

The Human Chain will be established in the city on December 12, to symbolize the desire for unity and reconciliation among all the citizens of Bombay.

An initiative of the Catholic Church, the idea was that the human chain would unite hand-in-hand thousands of people in the centre of the city.

It has attracted participants from other Christian denominations and members of other religions including Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Sikhs. The chain will encirclee the city's main religious and political sites, expressing a desire for peace.

Over 100 civilian organizations are expected to be present at the event, along with student movements, labor unions, human rights associations, non-governmental organizations, and crowds of civilians.

“We, the people of Bombay, who have seen the hate and blood in our city, promise that we will not surrender to the terror and all those who call for war, violence, hate, and intolerance. We will work to make Bombay a peaceful and united city and to build a world based on the principles of tolerance, peace, equality, and justice,” a statement from organizers said.

The statement makes urges the city's governing body to guarantee honesty and better coordination of security forces, carry out initiatives for fighting religious extremism in India and Pakistan and continue protecting individuals, without violating human rights.

Dolphy D'Souza of the Bombay Catholic Sabha warned against the dangers of demonising a community for the sins of a handful of its misguided members. "The human chain is just one of our programmes aimed at strengthening the country's unity and integrity. The political class has failed us repeatedly. The latest example is how they took three days to choose a new chief minister and his deputy in the state. But we have not lost hope in the civil society," said D'Souza.

Peace activist Jatin Desai clarified that the organisations participating in the human chain don't support military action against Pakistan. "War is not a solution. It will only create more terrorists. We have to mobilise the global opinion against the monsters holed up in Pakistan," said Desai who also emphasised that the people-to-people dialogue was a more effective weapon than conventional weapons of war, in establishing peace.

Read of list of those taking part here

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