Even as Kenya limped back to normal on the second day of the three-day nationwide mourning over Westgate Mall siege, the non-resident Gujarati community decided to do away with overt celebrations for upcoming Navratri festival.
Kenya’s Hindu Council of Africa (HCA) has put out a circular announcing that no disco-dandiya parties would be hosted this year. Navratri begins on October 5.
Confirming the development, former HCA - Kenya president Mulji Pindolia said: “Keeping in mind the overall situation here after the militant attack, we have decided to skip all the festivities of Navratri. We will only focus on the religious aspect of Navratri, such as the aarti and mataji no garbo. It will be more a religious conclave than the community party it used to be in the earlier years.”
The announcement was made at a mass prayer meet by the HCA in honour of the victims of the tragedy, which left as many as 61 civilians and six armed forces officials dead as well as over 240 injured. The deceased included eight NRGs, one NRI and three Indian nationals. Nearly 400 NRIs had turned up for the meet, Pindolia said.
NRG-owned MP Shah Hospital in Nairobi decided to waive off all expenses for the treatment of victims. “Other hospitals in the city are yet to make any similar announcements,” said Pindolia. In addition, he also said that nearly all NRG-owned businesses other than those inside the mall, had resumed operations on Thursday.
While security has been tightened at other malls and commercial businesses, the NRG community along with the rest of the country wishes to get past this tragedy as soon as possible,” added Pindolia.