On 18 September 2016, Uri in the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, experienced the deadliest attack on security forces in Kashmir in two decades.
In a show of caring solidarity, India’s gemstone and jewellery industry offered financial aid to the families of 19 Indian army soldiers killed in the 18 September terrorist attack.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, led the event supported by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA), and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).
Fadnavis, on behalf of the Gem & Jewellery National Relief Foundation (GJNRF), gave ₹10 lakh ($15,000) relief cheques to each of the 19 soldier’s families. The aid came from joint collections by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), the Mumbai Diamond Merchants’ Association (MDMA), and the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).
Chief Minister Fadnavis acknowledged the relief by calling it a, “landmark initiative that supports the families of our soldiers over the years. I am happy to note that the diamond merchant community regularly supports the cause of our soldiers and congratulates the people in the sector for providing assistance including financing education for the children of our soldiers.”
The Chief Minister also commented, “You are not only leading the nation in its economic growth, you have also taken the lead in alleviating its pain.”
Following Fadnavis comments, Shri Praveenshankar Pandya, GJEPC and GJNRF chairman, stated, “I express my deep gratitude to Chief Minister Fadnavis for gracing this solemn occasion. Our soldiers are our real diamonds. On the eve of the festival of lights, we, jewellers, hope to bring a ray of light to the families whose grief is too deep to be bridged. This initiative signifies the gemstone and jewellery industry’s commitment towards the betterment of our society.”
President of BDB, Shri Anoop Mehta, added his own thoughts by saying, “Most of our gemstone and jewellery trade community members engage in individual charitable activities but this joint initiative is unique as it represents a collective effort. This act of giving to India’s armed forces is a step that will open the floodgates of recognising the contribution of our soldiers.”
In 1999 the Gem & Jewellery National Relief Foundation (GJNRF) was founded. They started their charitable and philanthropic activities under the leadership of the Indian gem and jewellery industry, providing aid for war and terror, and calamity victims.
The GJNRF charitable activities are many with 1,100 scholarships for the Kargil war army personnel children and a hostel for Mumbai students. They also helped with restoring 30,000 acres of agricultural land, including water pumps, tractors, and tools, after the devastation of the state of Orissa by a cyclone.