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Candlelight Vigil At Boston University

Ranjani Saigal

he India Association of Greater Boston (IAGB), along with Boston University students organized a candlelight vigil to mourn the tragic death of Kanagala Seshadri Rao, a graduate student at Boston University. The event was held at the Marsh Plaza at Boston University on Sunday April 29, 2012. 

Sheshadri Rao death has been marked as a homicide though there are no clear answers as to why he was attacked.  The tragedy deeply affected the Indian community. The vigil was held to allow members to grieve and to show support for the victim’s family. 

The event opened with the chanting of the Shanti Mantra by Priest Padmanabh from the New England Hindu Temple followed by the lighting of candles by members of the community.

“May the light bring an end to pointless crimes,” said Amrit Soni, president of the India Association of Greater Boston , who addressed the gathering after lighting the lamp. 

More than 80 people gathered at sunset to remember Rao, a Graduate School of Management student who was killed in Alston April 19. “He was a very genuine person, always helpful whenever you asked questions,” said Lokesh Amarnath, an alumnus of BU and National Institute of Technology in India who was one of Rao’s friends and classmates.
Pandit Ramsamooj, the Hindu Campus Minister offered his condolences to the family. “We are grieving with [Rao’s family] because we have also lost a child in this community,” he said. “One life lost is one too many. Rao was a wonderful student and a role model to the community in Boston as well as his community in India” said Ramsamooj.

Amit Persaud from the Hindu Students Council was upset that no real details are forthcoming. “It is a great tragedy, unfortunately no details are yet known,” said Persaud. Chavi Goenka, the President of Tarang at BU also expressed her grief at the loss of a fellow graduate student.

Mohan Nannapaneni, the executive vice president of the Telugu Association of North America, who has worked with the family and the embassy since Rao was identified,  shared the anguish of the father with the gathering. “He cannot come to grips with the fact that his son is not alive. It is very sad,” said Nannapaneni. Mr. Nanda, President of the Orissa Society of New England also expressed his condolences. 

The Om Satsang under the leadership of Smt. Lata Mundkur sang Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram and prayed for the soul of Rao. 

The event ended with a Shraddanjali . We at Lokvani offer our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Sheshadri Rao and hope they find the courage to deal with this tragedy.

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