Candlelight vigils, prayers for Mumbai victims in Canada

Candlelight vigils, prayers for Mumbai victims in Canada

Deepak Obhrai, who as parliamentary secretary is the highest-ranking Indo-Canadian in the current government, paid rich tributes to the victims of India's worst terror attack.

Speaking in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa, Obhrai said, "Today Canada remembers the victims of last year's deadly attacks in Mumbai. A year ago, cowardly terrorist attacks took the lives of 166 innocent civilians, including two Canadians.''

He said, "Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and with the survivors of this terrible tragedy. Last week , the prime minister, the minister of foreign affairs, and myself stayed in Mumbai at one of the hotels which were attacked.''

Obhrai said Canada had also suffered at the hands of terrorist attacks as it lost hundreds of its citizens in the Air India bombing on June 23, 1985, and the 9/11 attacks on the US.

He said, "Canada has designated June 23 as the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism which aims to denounce terrorism and honour the memory of its victims such as those who lost their lives in the deadly attacks in Mumbai.''

Various Indo-Canadian cultural and business organizations also remembered the Mumbai victims. The Indo-Canada Chamber Commerce (ICCC) held a commemoration meeting to pay tributes to the victims. Various temples in the city also held candlelight vigils and prayers in the evening for the victims.

Toronto-based surgeon Atul Tolia, whose relatives barely survived the Taj terror attack as they had gone out for dinner on that fateful night, said, "The first thing I did this morning was to say a personal prayer for the victims. Last night I watched a DVD on the massacre made by my friend Manish Jain in collaboration with Subhash Ghai, and I was just overwhelmed.''

But Gujarat-born Tolia said he was disappointed by Indian political leaders' insensitivity. "All political should have come together in Mumbai today and held a peace rally.''

He said if India is attacked again it should destroy terror camps in Pakistan. "The Pakistan people are our brothers, but it is the terrorists whom we should hunt to the end of the earth,'' he said.

Gujarati business Hemant Shah, who has played a key role in promoting business  ties between India and Canada, said, "All my Canadian business friends and bureaucrats called me this morning to express their condolences for the Mumbai victims.''

He said, "I am watching Indian TV networks right now, and I am overwhelmed by the unity displayed by Indians. I am proud that India today is united like never before.''