SARANGPUR HANUMAN, GUJARAT, September 27, 2002):Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the head of the Bochanwasi Swaminarayan sect, today made an appeal for peace and compassion in Gujarat. "What happened in Akshardham should not become an excuse for violence. People should maintain the calm and peace and not take the law into their own hands. God will dispense the justice," Pramukh Swami said. It was a busy day for the Pramukh Swami who is currently staying at the sect's training centre for sadhus in the village of Sarangpur Hanuman, three hours from Ahmedabad. Among his first visitors was Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. "After such a terrible incident it is my duty to come and pay my respects to Pramukh Swamiji," Modi said. Even before the Chief Ministers had left, a delegation of over 25 Muslim leaders from different parts of Ahmedabad arrived to meet the Pramukh Swami and express their community's outrage over the horrifying incident. "It is unfortunate that our religious leaders are caught between the politicians and the fundamentalist groups and have not appealed for peace. Swamiji has shown the way for this," says a resident of the city. The people of Gujarat, however, appear convinced that despite these appeals violence can only be kept at bay if politicians are willing to absorb the message of peace.