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'India, we stand with you'

By Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC
July 12, 2006 01:55 IST
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Representative Jim McDermott took the floor of the US House of Representatives on Tuesday to condemn the serial blasts in Mumbai.

At least 174 people were killed and more than 200 injured when seven blasts ripped through compartments of Mumbai's suburban trains.

"Mr Speaker, it is with profound sorrow that I rise to extend my deepest regrets to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the people of India over today's deadly attack," the co-founder of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans said.

"I have traveled to India many times. I have enjoyed the company of Prime Minister Singh and shared a private meal in his home.  He is a good man and a great leader, and I know that India 's best defense in this time of grave trouble is to be led by a man of boundless integrity.

"As I speak, far more is unknown than is known about this cowardly act of senseless violence. There is little doubt, however, that the atrocity was carried out by people who worship hatred, because there is no religion on this earth that condones the killing and maiming of innocent people."

Recalling Mahatma Gandhi's words to the effect that 'the most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives', Congressman McDermott said, "I have little doubt that those responsible will hide behind one of the world's great religions to claim sanctuary for their violence. The world must not be fooled into accepting their claim."

In an extended speech that was endorsed by acclaim of all lawmakers present, McDermott said: "In the words of Gandhi: 'Permanent good can never be the outcome of untruth and violence.' Weaving a fabric of lies does cannot conceal this one single thread of truth.

"There is no religion on this planet, not Christianity, not Buddhism, not Islam, and all the others, that preaches or condones hatred. None do. And only the perversion of great religious ideals and great historical figures would pretend otherwise. That is done to try to spread more violence. 

"An atrocity like the one committed today in India is done by extremists who are hollow inside.  Violence is what they espouse because humanity is what they do not possess.

"India is a great nation and the noble spirit of its people will overcome today's heartbreak. The bonds between India and the United States go much deeper than the Democracy we practice as nations. The personal roots in my hometown of Seattle are deep and strong, and I know we all mourn the terrible loss. 

"We proudly collaborate on so many levels, from trade and economic ties, to cultural and charitable exchanges. We have grown close and the people of Seattle would want me to extend to the people of India our deepest sympathies over this senseless tragedy. I'm sure this is true across America.

"The truth is, wanton violence meant to divide the world can unite it, in sadness today, to be sure, but in strength tomorrow. I am proud to say that I co-founded the Congressional India Caucus over a dozen years ago. It has grown into a large bi-partisan body. When it comes to India today, there are no political divides in this House. 

"We are saddened by what has happened, but we are united in offering our support to a nation I am so very proud of. 

"India, we stand with you."
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Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC