02/15/2010, 00.00
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Bishop of Pune: Terrorism divides us; religions must fight it together

by Nirmala Carvalho
In the attack in Pune on 13 February, 9 people died, including an Italian and an Iranian. Among the 60 wounded, there are 12 foreigners. Indian politicians are divided and the BJP is trying to block dialogue with Pakistan. Bishop Dabre, bishop of the city, stresses that the "victim" of terrorism is, foremost, coexistence of different religions and cultures and this requires the cooperation between people of different faiths and traditions.

Pune (AsiaNews) - At least 9 people were killed and about 60 were wounded in a terrorist attack on the German Bakery, a popular restaurant in Koregaon Park in Pune. Among the dead were an Italian and an Iranian. Even among the wounded, there are 12 foreigners, Pune being a cosmopolitan city.  

The explosion is the major incident after the terrorist attack in Mumbai in November 2008. The German Bakery is near a Hindu mystic centre, Osho Ashram and close to Chabad, a centre of the Lubavitch Jewish Orthodox movement. Some members of the Lubavitch were targets of the attack in Mumbai in 2008.

So far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack. But the opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has indirectly blamed Pakistan, demanding that the government in New Delhi once again blocks dialogue with Islamabad. The progress of the difficult relations between India and Pakistan were halted after the attack in Mumbai. They were to resume with a meeting scheduled next February 25. But the Congress Party, which leads the ruling coalition, ruled out the reference of the talks between New Delhi and Islamabad.  

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, condemned the attack and reaffirmed the desire to improve relations between the two neighbours.   In a comment to AsiaNews, Mgr. Thomas Dabre, Bishop of Pune, said that "terrorism attacks and injures people of different religions and cultures. For this reason it  is even more necessary for all believers in God to unite and work together to ensure a society free from terrorism, where people can live in peace, justice, dignity and happiness".   Bishop Dabre, who is a member of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, has also expressed his condolences and prayers to the families of the victims. Here is what he told us:

In the diocese of Pune we were shocked by the explosion which took place just 3 km from the cathedral in Pune.  

I offer my deepest condolences to the relatives and friends of the victims of this attack that killed 9 people and injured about 60, causing much damage to buildings. May the Lord bless the dead, with eternal life, give healing to the wounded and provide comfort and strength to the relatives and friends. The victims were all young, promising students and employees who were enjoying a little relaxation in the restaurant. The bomb destroyed their lives.  

Religious leaders must work together to put an end to terrorism.  

Terrorism has become increasingly popular in the world and now has also struck these innocent lives in this historic city, known for its cultural and religious harmony and its integration. Pune has played a key role in the history of the movement for Indian independence and has a special significance today because it is emerging as one of the centres of development for information technology.

The incident on Saturday has hit the entire city, with its cosmopolitan population of 6 million people, from all over India and many parts of the world. This incident is further proof that terrorism has no morality, that human beings are losing the sense of justice because innocent lives are sentenced to death and destruction.  

The spirit of forgiveness is disappearing, and revenge, retaliation, foolish assertion of rights and demands are imposed so stubbornly on others, without any distinction between guilty and innocent.  

The message of Jesus Christ of love, forgiveness, justice and peace, along with a spirit of sacrifice for each other becomes more important and urgent: we can not be overcome by pessimism in the face of terrorism.

Terrorism challenge religions and cultures to work together to spread a universal morality in the minds and hearts. In particular, religious leaders must convey the importance of morality, justice and peace as a sign of faith in God and true spirituality.  

Terrorism attacks and injures people of different religions and cultures. For this reason it is even more necessary for all believers in God to unite and work together to ensure a society free from terrorism, where people can live in peace, justice, dignity and happiness.   I believe that the religions of the world with politicians, intellectuals, scientists and the world leaders must have an effective role to put an end to this senseless, irresponsible and immoral terror.


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