Sonia to address UN Assembly on October 2, protests by some

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New York, Sep 17 (UNI) Congress President Sonia Gandhi will address the UN General Assembly session on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi's birthday to be observed as the Day of Nonviolence by the United Nations from this year onwards.

About 60 Indian-American associations are supporting the planned visit of Ms Gandhi to New York for the first time in six years period.

Referring to a reception, he and other outfits has planned during the leader's visit, president of the Indian Nationl Overseas Congress (US chapter) Surinder S Malhotra told mediapersons, ''The list of about 2,000-3,000 will be largely drawn from these associations.'' The relevant resolution was sponsored by India and adopted by the global body with a near unanimous vote.

However, a newly formed organisation 'Forum for Saving Gandhi Heritage' have been protesting against this decision of the UN and sponsoring advertisements in community newspapers, mentioning ''Sonia is unqualified to represent Mahatma Gandhi at the UN.'' Referring to the protest the organisation held at the UN building for two hours, Dr Malhotra said,''We welcome the protest.

Disagreements in a democracy is a healthy sign. But, they (the protesters) should maintain decorum,'' Disagreeing with the protesters' contention, he said, ''We believe Soniaji qualifies because she has spread the message of social harmony in a country of over one billion.'' The Forum is planning a relay hunger strike for four days, starting from September 29 at Union Square Park where the statue of Mahatma Gandhi is placed.

UNI

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