India's Catholic Bishops Condemn Attack on Hindu Temple

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 26, 2002 ( India’s Catholic bishops condemned Tuesday’s attack on worshippers at a Hindu temple in Gandhinaga in Gujarat, which killed 33 people, including women and children.

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“The Christian community is horrified to note that the killings happened in a place of worship, where hundreds of devotees had gathered for prayer and spiritual solace,” the bishops said in a statement.

“The killing of innocent devotees in the temple is a blatant attempt on the part of anti-social and anti-democratic forces to disturb the religious harmony of the country,” they said. The bishops appealed to all Indians to maintain peace and harmony.

Assuring prayers for the dead and their families, the bishops also appealed to the central and state governments to provide adequate protection for places of worship all over the country.

About a dozen Muslim groups condemned the attack on the temple in Gujarat, Reuters reported.

India blamed Pakistan for the attack which it said was carried out by the gunmen apparently bent on avenging Muslim deaths in the communal violence in Gujarat earlier this year. A Pakistani spokesman said India’s allegation was “ridiculous,” Reuters said.

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