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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 26 March 2019

UAE-based Indian brothers pledge Dh500,000 to Kashmir soldiers

Attack on a military convoy in the disputed region killed 49

Indian army soldiers on patrol following the Pulwama terror attack. AP Photo/Channi Anand
Indian army soldiers on patrol following the Pulwama terror attack. AP Photo/Channi Anand

Two Indian brothers based in the UAE have pledged to donate Dh500,000 to the families of soldiers killed in Pulwama, Kashmir, last week.

Forty nine Indian paramilitary personnel died in an attack on a convoy on February 14, the worst atrocity in the disputed region for nearly 30 years.

On Tuesday, Sudhakar and Prabhakar Rao, of real estate firm Gemini Group which has interests in India and the Middle East, announced their donation.

The brothers, the company’s respective chairman and managing director, described the attack as cowardly and condemned those responsible.

“The Pulwama attack has shaken our conscience and inspired us to unite against such acts of cowardice,” said Mr Sudhakar Rao.

“We were shocked and thought that if we put out efforts together, we could help the children of those who died.

"It’s a shock for the families [involved] and we can't imagine their situation.”

The attack happened as troops were being transported by bus to Sringar in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A car filled with explosives rammed the vehicle as it travelled along a highway as part of a 70-strong convoy carrying some 2,500 troops.

Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack and on Monday, India said a retaliatory strike had killed three of its members.

Speaking from Dubai, Mr Sudhakar Rao said he condemned terrorism of any kind.

He added that his firm would be making a donation to the troops' families via the Gemini Global Hope Foundation, a non-governmental organisation registered in India.

“While I salute the heroes of our nation, my heart goes out to the families and their young children,” he said.

“It is their time of need and I want to stand by them to reduce their financial burdens.”

Since the attack, a number of business leaders, sports stars and other celebrities have announced they would be donating money to the victims’ families.

Bollywood actor Akhay Kumar, donated more than Dh2.5m while his colleague Amitabh Bachchan donated more than Dh1m.

On Sunday, Indian residents in the UAE gathered at their embassy in Abu Dhabi to pay their tributes to the soldiers who died.

“Our security forces keep us safe and secure and it's our duty to support them in all possible ways,” said Consul General Mr Vipul.

“[Our soldiers] made the supreme sacrifice for India in the Pulwama terror attack and it is important to now do whatever we can for their families.

“We would encourage anyone wanting to make a contribution to send it through the Ministry of Home Affairs website.”

Updated: February 20, 2019 03:40 AM

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