Bengaluru: Three days after the shocking bloodbath in Paris, French expats living in Bengaluru, the heads of Consulates and locals came together at 4.30 pm on Monday to observe a minute of silence for the victims. It was in conjunction with a similar event that took place at noon, GMT, across France, in educational institutions and public offices.
The event marked the final day of the 72-hour mourning declared by the French government. “Monday was the last official day of mourning and a minute of silence was observed at all educational institutions and public offices,” said Ms Gitanjali Brandon, who is currently posted at the Embassy of India in France.
Social media is overflowing with gestures of solidarity and one campaign making waves is Porte Ourverte, which means 'open door'. "Parisians – and Sikh Gurudwaras in Paris – have tweeted about opening their doors to anyone looking for a place to stay," Ms Brandon remarked. Une bougie pour Paris (One Candle for Paris) is one more initiative. The Indian Embassy in France remains open and those trying to connect with friends and family in Paris can contact them on 0140507070.
Condolences pour in at Alliance Francaise:
Seventy-two hours after the shocking massacre of over 120 people in Paris, flowers and condolence messages continue to pour into the French Consulate from across Bengaluru. French expats, heads of consulates, locals and other foreigners also observed a minute of silence outside the consulate building at 4.30 pm on Monday, which is 12 pm, GMT.
According to a statement by the French consulate, security has been beefed up both at their venue and at other institutions allied with France. Policemen were at the Alliance Francaise de Bangalore even on Saturday afternoon. The Consulate, in its statement, thanked the Karnataka government for its prompt support, saying that a similar response was received during the Charlie Hebdo attack back in January. Security has been increased at Alliance Francaise in Hyderabad as well, after instructions from the French Consulate in Bengaluru, which has jurisdiction over Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telengana. Both the Alliance Francaise premises in Hyderabad have been secured. The Consulate has reached out to the government of Karnataka and thanked officials for their support.
Messages of solidarity have been pouring in through Whatsapp and via email, with officials within the consulate writing down in the condolence book at the behest of the sender. The book, which has been placed in the reception and made accessible to the public, will remain there until Wednesday evening. Meanwhile, a state of
emergency has been declared across France and President Hollande called for a three-day period of national mourning, which came to a close on Monday, according to a statement released by the Consulate in Delhi. “France will defend itself,” said Mr Francois Richier, Ambassador of France to India. “This fight against terror will be merciless.” The consulate's statement also says that no Indians have been identified among the casualties.
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