Maa Charity Trust, UK organised a faith gathering on Tuesday 11th April at The Hindu Cultural Centre in North London to voice collective expression of abhorrence at the Westminster attacks in London in March, to offer prayers for the victims and appreciative thanks for the emergency services.
Invited speakers and Rajnikant Jani (Maa Charity Trust) spoke of the untimely deaths of the victims and the irreparable pain and the suffering of the families and in particular the bravery of PC Keith Palmer and the emergency services. Hanumanji stands for selfless service and on this day of Hanuman Jayanti, it was fitting to applaud the selfless service of the Metropolitan Police. Hindus believe in good citizenship as cornerstone for co-existence.
The Hanuman Chalisa was sung in reverence to Hanumanji after which Param pujya Didimaa Sadhvi Ritambharaji’s message written especially for the occasion was read by Harshaben Jani (Maa Charity Trust). In the message, Didimaa expressed her personal shock and sadness at the events in Westminster. She offered her prayers for the victims of this senseless violence and stated that she saluted the supreme sacrifice, courage and the commitment of the police and the emergency services. She focused on the need to inculcate samskaras – good values in the young generation so that there is no place for violence and we all live as vasudhaiva kutumbakam, that is the world as one family.
Varshaben Mistry Chairperson of the Metropolitan Police Hindu Association also read a message from Neil Basu, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police emphasising the importance of vigilance in the community and further stated how important this prayer meeting was to convey the thoughts of the community. Varshaben passionately emphasised the dedication with which the police carry out their duties day in and day out and stand in the line of fire as did PC Keith Palmer. The Right Hon. Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet spoke of the futility of violence where ordinary people going about their everyday lives became victims. On that fatal day she said, as frightened people were running away from the area of death and destruction, the police officers were running towards it, to protect us. During Easter week, the Sikh festival of Baisakhi and the Jewish Passover celebrates new life, spring and freedom. It was important to celebrate the lives of the victims who died and applaud the work of the emergency services. A reading from the Jewish faith conveyed the message of mercy and emphasised that although the attack on Westminster was an attack on liberty and democracy, such cruel and vile acts must not undermine the commitment to life, freedom and the values of humanity and compassion.
Representation from office bearers of the Hindu Forum of Britain included Truptiben Patel, President of the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB), Shashibhai Vekaria Patron, HFB and Haribhai Halai. Truptiben read the shlok, ‘asato mā sadgamaya’ from ignorance lead me to truth. Collectively she stated, all Hindu organisations condemned violent acts resulting in the loss of life. We share so many common values so we must learn to live together. Constables Laura Perrin and Dean Knight very movingly stated that PC Keith Palmer ‘’was of one of us and he died for us’’. Councillor Sury the Deputy Mayor for Barnet expressed the desire for communities to work together to bring about understanding.
The evening focused on the theme of positive thoughts as we move forward. The evening ended with young Ayushi reading a ‘message of hope’.
Sanskrit shlokas left a lasting message of Om śhānti śhānti śhāntiḥ, Oṁ : peace, peace, peace.