India and Pakistan have long disagreed about many issues. But on Wednesday, Indian lawmakers and students lowered their heads and observed two minutes of silence in memory of 132 Pakistani children. The children died on Tuesday in an attack on their school in the city of Peshawar.
The Pakistani Taliban said it attacked the school to answer Pakistan’s offensive against Taliban supporters in northwestern tribal areas. Over 145 people died in the raid. Most of the victims were children of Pakistani soldiers.
In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for mourning in the schools. Mr. Modi said the attack was a “senseless act of unspeakable brutality.”
Indians’ response was heartfelt. In Mumbai, some students held lit candles for the young Pakistani victims. In a school in Baroda, students wore black bands across their mouths. Some carried signs that said, “Stop Terror,” and “Don’t kill children.”
Most of all, students expressed support for Pakistan -- a country many Indians consider their rival.
"Pakistan we are with you.
We will help you in any way you want."
The attack comes when relations between the two countries are at a low point. However, for now, people are forgetting politics.
India’s lower house of parliament passed a resolution expressing sorrow to Pakistan and to the families of the victims. The resolution said terrorist attacks against innocent people, especially young children, should not be accepted.
Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said India is standing with Pakistan during this unhappy time.
Ms. Swaraj said the attack is a call to all people to join hands and defeat terrorism. She said her country is ready to play a part in this job.
India’s minister of parliamentary affairs, V. Naidu, called on the world community to fight terrorism. He repeated Indian accusations that groups based in Pakistan have launched attacks on India.
“Pakistan deserves our sympathy, support and condolence in this hour of sorrow. But at the same time I hope they will also understand the need to put down the terrorism within their country and which is going out from their country.”
This week, Indian officials ordered increased security. The Home Ministry called for increased security at schools and other crowded places, such as shopping malls and train stations.
Words in This Story
brutality – n. cruel, harsh, and usually violent treatment of another person
heartfelt – adj. deeply felt; very sincere
bands – n. flat, straight pieces of material
rival – n. a person or thing that tries to defeat or be more successful than another