The French Government on Wednesday announced postponement of the investiture ceremony for conferring the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans L' Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) on Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in deference to the victims of the Mumbai bomb blasts.
Speaking at a function in the Capital, French Embassy Attache de cooperation Educative Daniel Rignault said the time was not appropriate for anything else but to express French Government's condolence and condemnation of the terrible scourge of terrorism. “Nothing can justify what happened in Mumbai. We express solidarity with the victims of Mumbai. France is with them in this tragic moment. In respect to victims of the tragedy, a decision has been taken to postpone the award.”
A subdued Ms. Bachchan said she was shocked and saddened by the blasts in Mumbai. “I am disturbed by the news. We (our family) thought it would not be prudent to accept the honour. We thank the French Government for not celebrating the event as we requested them to postpone the event. They understand our sentiments not to go ahead with the function. Our concern is with families who are suffering from these terrible blasts.” The actor said at this crucial moment it was important to stand strong. “We will not be shaken by these actions. We believe in the deep Indian spirit and pray for all the victims.”
Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said Mumbai has again been hit but India was not going to get cowed down. “Those who believe they can shake Indian democracy and secular character let me tell them from this podium that every Indian, big or small, Hindu or Muslim, stands together to fight those who perpetuate terrorism. We will give them (terrorists) due justice.”
The Minister vowed that terrorists would be defeated everywhere. “We are not going to be shaken by these shocks. … Ms. Bachchan please carry our condolence to people who died in Mumbai. We stand shoulder to shoulder in this hour of grief. I have witnessed terrorism in my State for 20 years but have told the people that India will win and the world will win against terrorism.”