India reaches out as Pakistan mourns dead


India’s government has expressed a “sense of deep outrage” and “profound sorrow” over the killing of 132 children and nine others in a Taliban attack on a Peshawar school this week.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

The government said it was a “clarion call” for “all those who believe in humanity” to join hands against terror.

As both Houses of Parliament led the nation in condemning the “horrendous and cowardly terrorist attack”, schools across the country, responding to an appeal by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, observed a two-minute silence in solidarity with Pakistan.

As proceeding began Wednesday morning, members in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha stood in silence as a mark of respect to the memory of those killed in the attack.

Modi was present in the Lok Sabha which later adopted a resolution — it was moved by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan — extending “heartfelt condolences” to “the parliament, government, the people of Pakistan, the bereaved families and the injured”.

It said “all terrorist attacks against innocent people, especially vulnerable children, should be condemned” and called upon “all nations and each and every person with all energies at their command to fight against all acts of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.

In Rajya Sabha, Chairman Hamid Ansari said “this senseless and brutal cowardly act… only reaffirms our resolve to fight terrorism with more determination and firmness”.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in both Houses on the attack in Peshawar as well as the hostage crisis in Sydney.

She said even before the reverberations of the Sydney attack could end “one of the most horrific killings in recent times was perpetrated on our west” in Peshawar.

“The events of the last two days were on two different continents, in different hemispheres, to our east and west. But both are manifestations of the darkening shadow of terrorism,” she said.

“Both these developments, taken together, are a clarion call for all those who believe in humanity to join hands to decisively and comprehensively defeat terrorism,” Swaraj said, adding that India stands ready to play its role in this global campaign.

“The enormity of this crime (in Peshawar), the cowardly nature of the massacre, the barbaric brutality of the killing of 132 innocent school children and nine others yesterday has evoked revulsion all around,” she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said, reflected the entire nation’s feelings when he called it a “senseless act of unspeakable brutality”.

“In their darkest hour, we reached out and expressed our heartfelt condolences to the grief-stricken families, transcending boundaries and differences,” she said.

Prime Minister Modi, in a late night conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, informed him that people of India shared the “heart-rending pain and sorrow of the bereaved families and the people of Pakistan and stood with them in solidarity,” she said.