Monday, April 29, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Fernandes, Modi lead peace march

Union Defence Minister George Fernandes and Minister of State for Railways Digvijay Singh and others at a peace rally
Union Defence Minister George Fernandes and Minister of State for Railways Digvijay Singh and others at a peace rally in Ahmedabad on Sunday. — PTI photo

Activists from the National Cadets Corp take part in a peace march
Activists from the National Cadets Corp take part in a peace march in Ahmedabad on Sunday. — Reuters photo

Ahmedabad, April 28
Defence Minister George Fernandes and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi led a peace march through the streets of the strife-torn walled city today, even as riots and arson continued to rock the state, claiming seven more lives.

In an initiative to restore peace and harmony, the “People’s Peace March” led by the Defence Minister and Chief Minister Modi covered a three-km thoroughfare of the riot-affected Relief Road in the walled city. The march was organised by the Gujarat Chambers of Commerce and Industry (GCCI).

The participants included leaders of all religions and major political parties like the BJP, Congress, Samata Party and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. All of them wore a uniform white cap symbolising peace and held placards reading “We are all one” and “Though many religion, India is one, Hindu-Muslims are one.”

Union ministers Arun Jaitley, Digvijay Singh, Haren Pathak, Gujarat ministers Ashok Bhatt and Haren Pandya, MPs, MLAs, Congress leaders Narhari Amin and Urmila Patel and Samata Party leader Jaya Jaitley were among those who took part in the peace march.

Meanwhile, as part of the peace efforts, media baron and Chairman of Jain TV Dr J.K. Jain is on a seven-day fast since yesterday. Several journalists and other prominent Jain leaders and religious leaders of various communities have lended their support to his cause.

A GCCI member, Mr S.B. Syed, said a section of the Muslim community had boycotted the peace march because the “killers” in the Gujarat communal carnage were also present in the march.

Leaders of various communities from Lucknow, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and various places from Gujarat also attended the peace march.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Fernandes said today’s effort was aimed at taking some concrete steps to restore peace. He appealed to all citizens to “forget the past and engage themselves in building our future.”

“Those indulging in defaming the Gujarat events should not be given another chance,” he said.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi said in his speech that the events in the state after the Godhra train carnage were beyond “our imagination.”

However, a large number of people from the minority community expressed scepticism about any fruitful result emerging out of the “belated” peace march.

The residents of Kalupur, Patharkuan, Biscuit Gali, Jada Bhagat Ni Pole en route the peace march were very vocal saying that the BJP government’s peace endeavours were a “late effort” for consolation after all the suffering meted to the battered community.

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has sanctioned Rs 2 crore from the National Relief Fund as the second instalment of assistance for the riot-affected families living in various relief camps in Gujarat, an official press note said here on Sunday. Earlier, Rs 1 crore was released as the first instalment. UNI, PTIBack


Violence claims 7 more lives

Ahmedabad, April 28
At least seven persons were killed, three in Baroda and four in Ahmedabad, and 22 injured in police firing and group clashes in riot-torn Gujarat since last night.

Three persons were killed and six injured when the police opened fire to disperse a stone-throwing mob in Chandola Lake area here, the police said.

Two persons were injured when rival groups hurled crude bombs at each other, the police said.

Two persons were killed in police firing and one in mob violence in Baroda where curfew remained in force in six police station areas. Fourteen persons were also injured in communal clashes.

Two persons, including a woman, who were wounded in violence a few days ago, succumbed to their injuries in hospital yesterday, the police said.

One person was stabbed to death and 15 others were injured in continuing violence in the sensitive Gomtipur and Kalupur areas today, forcing the authorities to impose indefinite curfew. UNI, PTIBack

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