The Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues, and Action organizes vigil for policemen who
died in surprise attack in Pulwama, India. Credit: Courtesy of The Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues, and Action

The Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues, and Action organized a vigil Friday for the policemen who were killed as a result of a terror attack at the Central Reserve Police Force convoy in Pulwama, India, on Valentine’s Day.

The surprise attack killed at least 40 people, shocking the Indian and international community. The Pakistan-based terrorist group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, claimed responsibility for the attack.

While many around the world were celebrating the day of love, the families of the dead were mourning their loss, Praneeth Madhu, president of Hindu YUVA, said.

“It was super unfortunate this attack happened on Valentine’s Day, making it even more emotional for people across India,” Madhu said.

Considering the diversity on campus, Hindu YUVA organized the vigil on behalf of the thousands of Indian international students, scholars, faculty and Indian-American students, Madhu said. The vigil was offered to provide them with an opportunity to address their grief, express their condolences to the families of the fallen and to condemn acts of terrorism, Madhu said.

Members from various Indian-based organizations attended the vigil including the Federation of Indian Association — a group established in 1983 to unite various member organizations of Asian-Indian origin in Central Ohio.

“The event was put up on very short notice because we wanted it to be as soon as possible so people had a venue to express their feelings and give their condolences, because any terrorist attack is a very vulnerable time for people,” Madhu said.

Ashish Joshi, a first-year graduate student in civil engineering and a volunteer at the vigil, said coming together helps everyone cope with the situation.

“When something of this magnitude happens, it tends to be something that shocks everybody,” Joshi said. “Everyone who comes together for the common cause — it helps.”

The Muslim Student Association, Ohio State Hillel and other on-campus student organizations also sent out their condolences and support to the Indian community, Madhu said.

“Terrorism is not something only one group can face alone,” Madhu said. “We know there are many communities who are affected by such acts of inhumane brutality.”

Joshi said that events like the one on Friday help everyone in the wake of tragic events.

“When you come together to speak of these things, it tends to relieve the shock and calm everyone down,” Joshi said. “It morally pacifies and supports people.”