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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Festival of lights celebrated with a cause in Australia

PTI  Melbourne, November 12, 2012
First Published: 14:24 IST(12/11/2012) | Last Updated: 14:25 IST(12/11/2012)

Celebrating the Hindu festival of lights, an annual Diwali event was held here that attracted thousands of Indians and locals to enjoy cultural performances along with fund raising for an awareness campaign to "stop violence against women".

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Held at the iconic Federation Square building on Sunday, Australian Hindus gathered to enjoy music and dance, live performances, dance and craft workshops, Indian food and interactive items with AFL players and Australian cricketers.

Indian, Spanish and Chinese artists also performed few unique collaborative fusion items and an 11-member Sidi Goma Tribal group enthralled the spectators.

A fund raising and awareness program White Ribbon Campaign to "Stop Violence against Women" was also held and oath taking ceremonies were conducted asking all men to say no to violence against women.

Present on the event, the state premier Ted Baillieu, minister of multiculturalism Nicholas Kotsiras and other community leaders wished the community on the festival.

According to Kotsiras, the celebration of Diwali this year is even more significant because it will coincide with White Ribbon Day, aimed at preventing violence against women.

"Now I expect every person to be at Federation Square for the Diwali festival. This is important, apart from having fun and the colour and the music and the food, this is about sending a very strong message about violence against women," Kotsiras said.

The launch of the Diwali festival celebrations included Bollywood films screening at the Federation Square, a week-long Diwali display and announcements of festival greetings at the International airports and lighting up several official buildings including state Parliament, Indian consulate office.

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