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Sonia vows befitting reply to terror

Sonia Gandhi said that India would give a strong reply to terrorists.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 04, 2008, 12.31 AM IST
URI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday said that India would give a ���befitting reply��� to terrorists. Address a gathering here, she said the nation would not be cowed down by terrorists and would counter terrorism with democracy.

Defying her party and her government, which strongly advised her not to visit Jammu and Kashmir now, Ms Gandhi addressed a gathering here, where she said: ���We believe peace is a pre-requisite for progress and we moved many steps in friendly relations with our neighbouring country. This spirit should not be mistaken as our weakness.

Nobody can frighten us with terrorism. Our history is the history of sacrifices and we would never bow before terrorism. We would give a befitting reply,��� Ms Gandhi told a cheering crowd in this garrison township.

Terrorism, she said, had no religion. ���This is against democracy and we will fight terrorism with the power of democracy.��� Ms Gandhi said the government is ready to talk to anybody for the ���good of the people��� but there would be no compromise with those ���who speak against humanity.���

Hundreds of men and women, young and old, trekked huge distances to reach the main township. Their main concern may have been whether India���s truce gestures were being put on hold.

Abdul Gani of Gawhalan said the vote is second priority. ���After the Mumbai terror attack, we are apprehensive what will happen,��� he said. ���For a few years now, we were sleeping with ease but nobody knows if it will continue.���

A Congress leader said that Ms Gandhi had been strongly advised by her party and the Centre against visiting J&K. ���But she insisted that she would fly to Kashmir because she had made a commitment much earlier.���

Though her response to Mumbai attacks was measured, she and all other accompanying her ��� Prof Saifuddin Soz and Ghulam Nabi Azad ���skipped any reference to the trans-LoC road that, till recently, was a showpiece of the peace measures.

Ms Gandhi thanked the people for participating in he polls in huge numbers and exhibiting their deep faith in democracy. ���I hope the people who are talking about boycott will respect the verdict of the people and join the exercise for peace and progress,��� she said. She hoped that people of the three regions would be ready to democratically address issues.

Congress���s Uri candidate Taj Mohiuddin, pitted against NC strongman Mohammad Shafi Urvi in a close contest was visibly elated. Ms Gandhi talked a lot about her frequent visits to the border belt when the area was flattened by the earthquake in 2005.

Former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad highlighted the contributions of the Congress president to J&K and Uri in particular. Ms Gandhi too enumerated the contributions Mr Azad had made during his tenure as chief minister.
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