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The Human Chain Peace Rally was inaugurated by Most. Rev. Dr. GeorgeAntonysamy D.D, the Archbishop of Madras-Mylaporeand the President of the Tamil Nadu Bishops Conference. He lit an Easter candle and waved the flag as a sign of the inauguration of the human chain for peace. This action signified that the darkness of hatred, enmity, violence and fundamentalism in Manipur should end soon, allowing people to live in peace.After standing in the heavy rain, around 4.45 pm, all the members walked back to the Cathedral for the Solemn Prayer Service. The first talk was delivered by Most. Rev. Dr. George Antonysamy D.D, the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore titled ‘May peace prevail in Manipur’. He emphasized that there should be peace in the land and in the minds of the people of Manipur. Peace comprises elements such as love, justice, forgiveness, unity and brotherhood. He spoke about the pressing need and urgency for such peace to prevail in Manipur.
The second talk was given by Rev. Fr. Xavier Arul Raj, who spoke about love for humanity and stressed the problems that had arisen in Manipur, emphasizing the need to respect humanity. Sr. Maria Philomi FBS delivered the third talk on “Unity in Diversity.” She shared her views on the unique feature of our Indian nation,which is to embrace and celebrate hundreds of cultures, languages, religious ways, and ideologies. She exhorted everyone to appreciate our diversity and foster unity.Rev. Fr. Agilan Sdb, the Provincial of the Salesian Province of Trichy delivered a speech on “Social Justice.” The final talk was given by Rev. Fr.Jebamalai Raja S.J. provincial of the Jesuit Province of Chennai, on the theme ‘To uphold the Constitutional Values’ wherein he spoke about the strength of our Indian Constitution, which includes the principles of equality, fraternity, secularism, dharma, democracy and so more.
All the participants took a pledge that they would work to grow and prosper as human beings, transcending nation, language, race, caste, and religion. Fr. Don Bosco SDB, the Vice President of CRI led the oath-taking ceremony. It was followed bythe vote of thanks, which was proposed by Rev. Sr. Jebamalai FMM. The programme concluded with a thanksgiving prayer by Chengalpattu CRI.
This peace rally was also a timely event as Manipur has been plagued by violence for many years. The State has been the site of an armed insurgency for decades, and there have also been frequent clashes between different ethnic groups. The peace rally was a sign that we are willing to come together to work for peace. It is hoped that the rally has raised awareness among the general population, and we envisage that it will help create a more peaceful and prosperous future for the state.