KOLKATA, (C.M. Paul) – In a gesture of solidarity with the grieving population of the city which suffered the tragic death of some 90 patients and hospital staff at Advanced Medical Research Institute (AMRI) Hospital fire in the early hours of 9th December 2011, the Christian community has postponed week-long Christmas celebrations scheduled to start on 12th December on Mother Teresa Sarani (Park Street).
“In view of the AMRI hospital fire tragedy and as an expression of our condolences to the victims and the bereaved families, Christmas fest scheduled for 12th December at Allen Park is postponed,” says SMS message alert dispatch sent by the archdiocese of Calcutta Public Relations officer Fr Dominic Gomes, 10th December night.
In a brief telephonic conversation Fr Gomes suggested that “we hold a prayer meeting at the same time (6pm to 7 pm) and in the same venue (Allen Park) on 12th December.”
Several organizations held spontaneous prayer services for the patients and staff who died in the fire.
For instance, at the 46th annual sports day held at Don Bosco School Park Circus, the young athletes held one minute silent prayer for the repose of the departed, before the start of the competitions.
The delegates of the Conference of Religious India (CRI) Kolkata chapter members joined the All-India Qaumi Ekta Manch, a socio-cultural organization which held an all-faith prayer near the Bara Masjid on Zacharia Street close to Kolkata’s business hub Burra Bazzar.
The delegation consisting of 3 priests and 6 sisters from various congregations lit candles and expressed their condolences and prayers for the souls of the departed as well as the bereaved members of their families in English, Hindi and Bengali languages.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people – comprising doctors, nurses, healthcare staff, school and college children, social activists and other professionals – walked silently hand in hand carrying aloft posters and banners with black borders from Golpark to the ill-fated AMRI hospital about half a km away.
A similar procession was also taken out by the state BJP unit of right wing Hindu party from its office to the Dorina crossing in Dharmatala area.