A week after violent terrorist attacks shook Mumbai, India, students gathered in Kogan Plaza Thursday night to honor the victims.
During the candlelight vigil, about 50 students prayed, lit candles and shared their thoughts on the attacks. Several student organizations sponsored the event, including Ahimsa, the Sikh Student Association, the Indian Student Association, South Asian Graduate Association, the South Asian Society and Satyam.
“We just wanted to get together and show our solidarity about what happened,” said graduate student Ankita Mehta, cultural coordinator for the South Asian Graduate Association.
Mehta, a Mumbai resident, described the experience of watching the attacks unfold in her hometown from the other side of the world.
“When I saw the pictures I thought, ‘I go to that café every week.’ I saw the table where I sit,” Mehta said. “It just made me mad.”
The Mumbai attacks, which gripped the city and captured international attention for days, left almost 200 people dead.
Leaders of the campus organizations said the attacks provided an opportunity for their various groups to join forces.
“Finally, we got to come together as one,” said senior Shana Narula, president of the Sikh Students Association.
Junior Eshawn Rawlley, vice president of the Indian Students Association, said, “I don’t think anything can bring us together like this.”
Michael Tapscott, director of the Multicultural Student Services Center, delivered a statement of support on behalf of the University administration.
“We’re trying to find out how to support this community at this time,” Tapscott said, adding, “This is a difficult time in a student’s life to go through this kind of turmoil.”
Students praised the vigil and reflected on the attacks.
“I think it’s great that while being so far way from India we can come together on campus,” junior Nina Harkhani said.
Ameeka Pannu, a first-year medical student from Mumbai, said the terrorist attacks were “one of the most scary things to happen.”
She said, “If we change who we are, if we live in fear, they win.”