Vote for BJP to put a full stop on terrorism: Modi appeals after Sri Lanka blasts

66

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to people to vote for his BJP to strengthen the fight against terrorism as he condemned the serial blasts in Sri Lanka that claimed over 160 lives on Sunday. Addressing an election rally in Chittorgarh in Rajasthan hours after a series of blasts struck three churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, Modi said, “India is standing by Sri Lanka and is ready for any help in the time of crisis.”

“Hundreds of innocent people were killed by terrorists in Sri Lanka. They were offering prayers in churches and celebrating Easter when terrorists killed scores of people including children and women. I express my condolence,” he said. Expressing concern over the menace of terrorism, Modi said, “When you go to vote and press the ‘Lotus’ (BJP’s poll symbol) button…Keep it in mind that you are pressing that button to eliminate terrorism. Your finger has that power. Pressing the ‘lotus’ button will strengthen my resolve to fight against terrorism.”

He asked the gathering “is there anyone else except me who can take on terrorism”, to which the people responded with loud slogans in favour of him. Earlier, the prime minister tweeted, “Strongly condemn the horrific blasts in Sri Lanka. There is no place for such barbarism in our region. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured.”

A string of near simultaneous blasts struck three churches and luxury hotels frequented by foreigners in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 160 people and injuring over 450 others, shattering a decade of peace in the country after the end of the brutal civil war with the LTTE. The blasts – one of the deadliest in the island nation’s history – targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo and a church in the eastern town of Batticaloa around 8.45 a.m. (local time) as the Easter Sunday mass were in progress, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Three explosions were reported from the five-star hotels – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury in Colombo.