Day of mourning gave expression to nation's grief
February 26, 2003
The Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA) says its day of mourning on Republic Day gave expression to a nation's grief.
According to the release, approximately one thousand persons attended the event on Sunday at the Lusignan Community Centre Ground titled "Remembering the Fallen Jahajis" and participated in prayers for the victims of the past year of violence.
Family members of victims of violence including the sister of the late security guard Chaitram Etwaru, the widows of the late Ramdial Dasai and Camaldeo Ganesh, the children of the late Mohabir Lall and the eldest son of the late Ramdeo and Sita Persaud, and Anita Singh whose hair was cut off by bandits last August were present at the memorial function.
Additionally, the families of the victims witnessed the lighting of a symbolic Hindu cremation by Swami Aksharananda who said in his address to Sunday's gathering, "...[Indians] live in a country where [they] are afraid to own their pain and suffering, and [are] given no public space to express their grief. If they did,... Indians are made to feel that they are being disloyal to their country."
Meanwhile, the release said GIHA President Ryhaan Shah spoke of "the loss of innocence of our children who now know about guns, bullets and dying. Our children are being stripped of their innocence and live in fear. Why? Because politicians struggle for power and we are the sacrifice."
Shah further told the gathering to reaffirm the jahaji spirit of brotherhood and to act in unison to protect and defend their communities from criminal attacks, it stated.
GIHA noted in its release that the violence was ongoing as the government refuses "to acknowledge there is a crisis."
Kirtan groups from Success and Cornelia Ida, artist Bernadette Persaud, activists Wendell P. George and Amar Panday, East Coast resident Sheik Khan, and President of Arya Samaj Dr. Ramesh Sugrim all took part, the release informed.
It added that GIHA plans to follow up its vigil and memorial service with meetings to decide on further courses of action to force government to acknowledge the current crisis in order that the criminals could be brought to justice and peace restored in Guyana