NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted on the horrific knife attack in a French church on Thursday expressing his condolences to the families of the victims and the citizens of France. Strongly condemning the heinous attack, PM Modi declared that India stood by France in the fight against terrorism.
PM Modi’s support to France comes hours after three people lost their lives in a brutal knife attack inside a church in the Southern French city of Nice.
In yet another shocking and brutal attack in France, a knife-wielding man shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a suspected terrorist attack at a church in Nice on Thursday, police and officials said.
PM Modi tweeted, “I strongly condemn the recent terrorist attacks in France, including today’s heinous attack in Nice inside a church. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the people of France. India stands with France in the fight against terrorism.”
The attack comes while France is still reeling from the beheading earlier in October of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty by a man of Chechen origin in a suburb of Paris after he had shown caricatures of Prophet Mohammad. The 47-year-old Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen Muslim.
The attacker had said he wanted to punish Paty for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson. It was not immediately clear if Thursday`s attack was connected to the cartoons, which Muslims consider to be blasphemous.
Since Paty`s killing, French officials – backed by many ordinary citizens – have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.
That has prompted an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda. The French media has reported that one of the three victims was brutally beheaded by the attacker, who has now been arrested. Apart from the three deceased, several others have been injured in the incident.
Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice has come forward to reveal that the attacker, shouted “Allahu Akbar” while he was being restrained by the French Police. Taking to Twitter, Estrosi termed the incident as “a terrorist attack”, calling for an end to “fascism” in the country.
The attack comes days after a French teacher was brutally decapitated in a similar manner by a man who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar”, outraged after the teacher showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in class. French President Emmanuel Macron said that the teacher, Samuel Paty, “was killed because Islamists want their future” strongly declaring that France would “not give up its cartoons”.
Even before PM Modi’s expression of support, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had condemned the personal attacks launched at Macron, owing to his recent tough recent on terrorism calling them a “violation of the most basic standards of international discourse”.
The MEA has also condemned the brutal killing of the French teacher, saying that there is ‘no justification’ for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstance.
The row between France and Islamic nations has escalated over Macron’s strong clampdown on terrorism in the nation. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier alleged that Macron “needed treatment” for his mental condition over his crackdown on terrorism, which he said was a crackdown on Islam and Muslims.
Attacker kept saying ‘Allahu Akbar’: Nice`s mayor, Christian Estrosi, who described the attack as terrorism, said on Twitter it had happened in or near the city`s Notre Dame church and that police had detained the attacker.
Estrosi said the attacker had shouted the phrase “Allahu Akbar”, or God is greatest. One of the people killed inside the church was believed to be the churchwarden, Estrosi said. “The attacker kept shouting “Allahu Akbar” even after he had been detained, Estrosi said.
“The suspected knife attacker was shot by police while being detained, he is on his way to the hospital, he is alive,” Estrosi told reporters.
Estrosi said a woman had tried to escape from inside the church and had fled into a bar opposite the building. The French anti-terrorism prosecutor`s department said it had been asked to investigate the attack.
Reuters journalists at the scene said police armed with automatic weapons had put up a security cordon around the church, which is on Nice`s Jean Medecin Avenue, the city`s main shopping thoroughfare. Ambulances and fire service vehicles were also at the scene.
The Ministry of External Affairs in a statement on October 28 had said, “We strongly deplore the personal attacks in unacceptable language on President Emmanuel Macron in violation of the most basic standards of international discourse.”
The MEA “condemned” the “brutal terrorist attack” that took the life of a French teacher in a “gruesome manner that has shocked the world” and offered”condolences to his family and the people of France”.
“We also condemn the brutal terrorist attack that took the life of a French teacher in a gruesome manner that has shocked the world. We offer our condolences to his family and the people of France.
There is no justification for terrorism for any reason or under any circumstance,” the statement added. The French envoy to India, Emmanuel Lenain, thanked MEA for the support tweeting, “France and India can always count on each other in the fight against terrorism”.
(with inputs from Reuters).