Candle light vigil held in Parramatta
United Indian Associations Inc (UIA), the premier umbrella Indian community association, organised a candle light vigil on Sunday, 17 February, at Jubilee Park in Parramatta, the central hub of the Indian community in Sydney, to condemn the horrific terrorist attack on over 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Kashmir, India.
Attended by over 150 community members the vigil held in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue was a moving tribute to the Pulwama martyrs in presence. Indian Consul SK Verma, Dr. Geoff Lee MP (Member for Parramatta) representing the NSW Government, Sameer Pandey – Councillor Parramatta, Moninder Singh—Councillor Blacktown, UIA Executive Committee, Past Presidents, Member Association representatives and media personnel were present.
Satish Badranna commenced the proceedings of the solemn event with a request to all present to observe a minute of silence. Shobitha Balakrishnan rendered the devotional song “Maitreem Bhajata’ praying for peace and harmony in the world. Rekha Sasikanth sang “Vande Matram’ in praise of Mother India. Sreeni Pillamarri, President UIA, acknowledged community members and other guests for their support. “UIA endeavours to work with the Indian Government to support the affected families of 40 innocent soldiers,” said Pillamarri.
“Our thoughts and prayers with the loved ones and their families. Australia and India will continue to condemn such terrorist attacks not only in India but globally,” said MP Lee, while Cr. Moninder Singh called it a “crime against humanity”.
Cr. Pandey said, “We stand rock solid and united. The Australian government can also join the Indian government to bring the culprits behind this attack to justice.”
Past presidents John Kennedy, Aruna Chandrala, Raj Natarajan, Subbarao Varigonda, and Prabhat Sinha also condemned the act of terrorism.