Bahai News - Indian earthquake victims remembered
Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 12:43 GMT
Indian earthquake victims remembered
Victims of the Gujurat earthquake have been remembered in a unique ceremony
which united representatives from all religious faiths.
The service, organised by pupils from a secondary school in Leicester, where
more than a quarter of the population is from the Gujurat, took place on
Leicester has the country's largest Gujurati population and the city was hit
hard by news of the earthquake, as damaged communications networks stopped
worried friends and relatives contacting those in the danger area.
Other Gujurati communities in Birmingham, north-west London and elsewhere
were also left reeling from the disaster.
More than 200 people, including Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews,
Muslims, Jains and Bahais, came together to offer prayers and condolences to
the victims of the disaster - which could have claimed more than 30,000 lives.
Mr Steve White, headmaster of Rushey Mead school, which organised the
event, said: "I believe this was the first time that all the different faiths
have come together for such a service.
"More than 1,000 families of the 1,300 pupils in our school have been
directly or indirectly affected by the earthquake.
"The grieving process is now coming to an end and the students decided they
wanted to do something positive to help the victims."
During the event a fund was launched which the pupils hope will raise enough
money to build a new school in the region.
The secondary school received messages of condolence from the Prime Minister
and Lord Attenborough, who was born in Leicester and pledged £1,000 to
The Foreign Office has confirmed that six Britons were among the thousands
killed in the earthquake.
But the precise number of British people missing in the region is still to be
A special helpline set up by the government has so far received 7,700 calls
from people in Britain concerned about family members in India.
Many British Asians visit friends and family in Gujurat at this time of the
A team from the British Consulate in Bombay has been in the town of Bhuj since
the start of last week gathering information and following up calls from
families in the UK.
©Copyright 2001, BBC
Page last updated/revised 032901
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