When Jaipur blasts rocked a Canadian minister

May 15th, 2008 - 9:27 am ICT by admin  

By Gurmukh Singh
Ottawa, May 15 (IANS) When a series of bomb blasts rocked the historic of Jaipur and killed 63 people Tuesday, their shock waves immediately hit an Indo-Canadian junior minister in far-away Canada. On hearing the news, Deepak Obhrai, who serves as parliamentary secretary (junior minister) to the Canadian foreign minister, and his wife Neena became desperate to contact his in-laws in the Pink City.

“Panic-stricken, we tried to locate my in-laws, but the city phone lines had perhaps been disabled by the authorities. The magnitude of the blasts had rocked and shaken us here, and we wanted to make sure that they were safe in the blast-rocked city,” Obhrai told IANS.

“Only after many anxious moments were we able to get through to them. We are relieved that they are safe. My father-in-law is a retired Rajasthan civil servant who lives in the outlying Malaviya Nagar area of Jaipur.”

Later Wednesday, in a statement in the Canadian parliament, Obhrai said, “These terrorist attacks against innocent civilians are a gross violation of human decency and a tragedy for all peace-loving people.” Terrorism has transcended borders, he said.

“Although India was the target of these attacks, my family here in Canada was profoundly affected by the possibility that our (family) members in Jaipur were in harm’s way. Thankfully, they was not harmed, but these attacks have shattered the lives of several hundred people.”

Obhrai said Canada stood with India in condemning “individuals who spew an ideology of hatred and those people and organizations that finance it - they have innocent blood on their hands.”

Earlier in his reaction, Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier said terrorist bombings in crowded market areas and near a temple were a deplorable act of violence against innocent civilians.

He said, “On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives, and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”

“We stand firmly united with the government of India, a proud and strong democracy, in condemning these acts of terror.”

Bernier said Canada and India have a shared commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

“Among our mutual priorities is close cooperation to fight terrorism,” he said.

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