Sonia prays for peace in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Mar 29 (UNI) Praying for complete peace and normally in the Jammu and Kashmir, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi today said the atmosphere in Kashmir was more peaceful and there was less tension in the air.

Speaking after inaugurating and dedicating the Asia's large Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip garden, at the foot of the Zabarwan Hill overlooking the famous Dal Lake here today, she described the Tulip Garden as a marvel which would attract tourists and boost tourism in the Valley.

She said with this initiative and other development activities being carried out here the economy of the state will continue to look up.

Feeling nostalgic about her family's intimate relationship with Kashmir, Mrs Gandhi recalled that Indira Gandhi loved nature in its different manifestations like streams, meadows, snow capped mountains and flowers, especially the flowers of Kashmir.

She said Kashmir was not only a place for holiday for her but the bedrock of her life.

She also recalled the lyrical description of beauty of Kashmir in the letters exchanged between Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter and said that it reflected their joy at the sight of cherry and almond bloom.

She said that today she herself had the feeling of the breathtaking beauty that the Tulip Garden had turned out to be.

She also alluded to the fond memories of her own and her children's visits to Kashmir with husband and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

The UPA Chairperson said that Kashmir was the natural habitat and home of tulips, adding that it grew here in wild 1000 years before it was sent to Europe from the Valley.

She said the tulip was in great demand in Netherlands and a single bulb of the flower would sell at the price of a house adding the tulips had tremendous potential for employment and called for the cultivation of typical local varieties which she said were in good measure available in Kashmir.

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