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Day of Peace in Argatala, India

Agartala, India - Christian-Hindu amity marked the International Day of Peace 2008 in Agartala on September 21. Even as reports of recent bomb blasts and Hindu-Christian conflicts continue to pour in from different parts of the country, the Northeast Indian capital town of Agartala witnessed a rare gesture of unity and friendship between Christians and Hindus. The program was organized by Sampari Hukumu Bodol Tripura, under the patronage of the Universal Peace Federation, sports educators, and the Religious Youth Service.

The Agartala celebrations of the International Day of Peace consisted of leaders from both Christian and Hindu communities planting a sapling in a place offered by the other community. Catholic priest Pascal D sdb planted a sapling in the compound of Bholagiri Ashram in Amtali on the outskirts of Agartala town in the presence of Maharaj Sureshsara Nanda Giri Swamiji and other religious leaders. Father Pascal hoped that "just as the Arjun sapling would gradually grow into a big strong tree," their resolve for peace and harmony too would become "firmer and stronger with each passing day."

The second part of the program was held at the Don Bosco Peace Centre in Nandannagar. Maharaj Sureshsara Nanda Giri Swamiji accompanied the group to Don Bosco and planted a sapling in front of the Peace Centre. The Swamiji exhorted the listeners to appreciate the many cultures and religions of our country, each of which tries to bring about peace through its own unique manner and method. Speaking on this occasion, Mr. J. L. Chakrabarty, the secretary of the International Association for Religious Freedom, Tripura Chapter, said that it made no sense to fight in the name of religion since every religion taught peace and communal harmony.

Fr. MC George, the Principal of the Don Bosco School, called the International Day of Peace a celebration of “variety.” "How boring would it have been if the world had only one type of people, or if a garden only had one kind of flower or if the world had only one type of music?" he asked the many youth present at the celebrations. Rev. Kamal Chakrabarty, another Christian leader, was also present for the celebrations.

The participants of the International Day of Peace celebrations also lit candles and prayed for the victims of the recent violence in various parts of the world. Ena Jamatia, one of the youth who took part in the program, said, "We feel sad when we hear about people dying because of violence or bomb blasts as happened in Delhi a few days ago. Today we prayed for them and also prayed that such things don't happen in society."

Some months ago, UPF conferred the Ambassador for Peace status upon Fathers K. J. Joseph sdb and Joseph Pulinthanath sdb, who are both also members of Sampari Hukumu Bodol.

To read UPF's Peace Declaration and reports of observances in other nations, click here.

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