On behalf of Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano has sent a telegram to officials of the Church and state in India offering condolences and prayers for those effected by the recent terrorist attacks on eight trains in the city of Mumbai and condemning the acts, which caused the death of at least 200 people.
In a statement from the Vatican today the cardinal said, “Deeply saddened by the news of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assures all affected of his spiritual closeness in prayer. While deploring these senseless acts against humanity, the Holy Father commends the many deceased to the loving mercy of the Almighty. Upon their grieving families and the numerous injured he invokes the divine gifts of strength, consolation and comfort."
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India on Tuesday condemned the serial bomb blasts that shook the city.
Reports this morning have raised the toll to 200 people killed and than 400 injured during the eight blasts that occurred during peak evening traffic in a span of 30 minutes.
The bishops’ spokesperson, Fr. Babu Joseph, appealed to the people to face “this hour of anguish with equanimity.”
“The bomb blasts are the handiworks of anti-social elements,” he said. “We should all join hands together to defeat the nefarious designs of the anti-social elements in the country,” he urged.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cut short his Kolkata trip and returned to New Delhi. Home Ministry sources said security has been beefed up at all vital installations in the country, public places, places of worship and markets across major cities. Paramilitary forces are on full alert.
Indian press agencies have reported that many Mumbians returned to work this morning, but that there was a marked decrease in riders on the city’s mass transit system.
The Central government has assured the Maharashtra government that Mumbai will be given all the necessary help to deal with the tragic event.