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Anti-terror protests in San Diego

A Rediff Correspondent | December 17, 2008

Indians in San Diego took out a peace march on December 14 at the Balboa Park, the city's largest urban cultural park and home to 15 major museums, to protest the terrorist attack on Mumbai on November 26.

In spite of the short notice and the incessant drizzle, about 150 people participated in the March. The participants received a lot of empathetic appreciation from the local community who interacted with them and extended their spontaneous support.

Carrying Banners of 'No More 9/11, 26/11, 7/7', 'Our thoughts are with Mumbai Terror Victims', 'United Against Terror', 'No Place for Terror in the free World', the Indian- American community started the March from the parking Lot of the Aerospace Museum  and proceeded to the Museum of Natural History. The March ended in the Organ Pavilion with a minute of silence for the victims of the Mumbai attacks. They walked about 3 miles.

The march was organised by concerned members of the Indian American community of San Diego in close association with the San Diego Indian-American Society.  Arvindh Lalam, an electrical engineer working in Qualcomm, San Diego,  said, "While there has been widespread appreciation for attacks on western targets, terrorism against India had got little attention until the Mumbai attacks."

The message from protesters read, "We want to stand up as INDIANS to condemn the attacks by terrorists in Mumbai recently. The message was clear that if we stand up united and make our voices heard we can convey that we are not giving up, no matter how hard the terrorists try. Irrespective of where we live, which corner of the world we reside in, we are Indians and we are united."

Men, women and kids were seen walking silently and stopping at busy traffic lights raising their banners high for everyone to see and then stopping again to talk to curious, but sympathetic spectators to interact with them and communicate the anguished feelings of average world citizens, affected by terrorism in different ways.

Mukundun, who works as a principal firmware engineer at Broadcom, felt that on a personal level the march helped him to firm up his resolve to stay focused on the issue of terrorism and to build up strong support against this heinous crime.

Shankar Parasaram, a software engineer, said: " I felt that after so many terrorist attacks not doing anything is not an option for us. Today we are here as Indians, who have been deeply hurt and shattered by these attacks and not just Tamilians, Maharashtrians or Punjabis...."

Similar thoughts were expressed by other organizers and participants.

Rajan Gupta felt the march is not only against terrorist activities but a message to India's political class, as well, to do some thing concrete for the common people and not just blame ISI for everything to hide their own shortcomings.

The San Diego peace and protest March participants paid their humble homage and tribute to the security forces who sacrificed their lives to save the lives of the hostages and victims of the terrorist attacks by observing a minute of silence towards the end of the March. 

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