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New Delhi, Dec 16: There was all-round condemnation in India, including from President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for Tuesday’s dastardly terror attack on a school in Pakistan’s Peshawar city that left nearly 140 people, mostly school children, dead. Also Read - Jammu and Kashmir: Pakistan Shells Mortars in Poonch District Along LoC, Indian Army Retaliates
Mukherjee expressed “deep anguish” and strongly condemned the incident in which heavily armed terrorists launched a brazen attack on the army-run school. Also Read - Outrage in Pakistan After Robbers Gang-Rape Woman in Front of Her 3 Children in Punjab Province
In a message, the president said: “Such heinous acts are against all tenets of humanity. They are nothing but a manifestation of the extreme evil that terrorists are capable of. The world community must unite and redouble efforts to root out terrors from every country and society.”
Mukherjee conveyed his condolences to the grieving families and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Modi in a tweet said: “Strongly condemn the cowardly terrorist attack at a school in Peshawar. “It is a senseless act of unspeakable brutality that has claimed lives of the most innocent of human beings – young children in their school. My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences,” the tweet added.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan too expressed sorrow at the incident. “This is a gruesome and heinous act. The perpetrators of such acts are enemies of mankind,” Mahajan said.
India’s external affairs ministry, in a statement, said: “No words will capture the feeling of deep revulsion and horror we feel about this terror attack against innocent children of the Army Public School in Peshawar. It was not just innocent children who have been massacred today, but the very conception of humanity.”
“The government of India strongly condemns this barbaric crime against humanity.
“Our prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those who lost their lives or were injured in this barbaric incident. We hope the almighty gives them the courage and fortitude to bear their irreparable loss.
“There never has been, nor will there ever be, a justification for terrorism,” the ministry statement added. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj cancelled a dinner she was to host Tuesday night for parliamentarians.
Child rights activist and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi said: “My heart bleeds for bereaved families. It is one of the darkest days of humanity. The Pakistan government must take all possible steps to protect children and schools from violence.” “I beg the Taliban, take me and leave these children,” he told NDTV news channel.
Education campaigner and fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai also condemned the attack and termed it a “senseless and cold-blooded act of terror”. “I am heartbroken by this senseless and cold-blooded act of terror in Peshawar. I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts, and stand united with the government and armed forces of Pakistan,” Malala said in a tweet.
“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” she added.
The India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) also strongly condemned the Pakistan incident. IICC president Sirajuddin Qureshi said people behind such incidents cannot be treated as human beings.
More than 130 children were killed in the attack on Army Public School in Peshawar. The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan claimed responsibility and called it a revenge attack for army operations in North Waziristan.
Malala is herself a survivor of a similar attack when she was shot in the head by the Taliban in her native Pakistan two years ago.
She was attacked for taking up cudgels for girls’ right to education. The 17-year-old activist, who now lives in Britain, was awarded the Nobel Prize this year for her global campaign on education.