Militants cause setback to society by killing great leaders: Azad

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Jammu, May 21 (UNI) Paying rich tributes to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated this day in 1991, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said terrorists cause ''severe setback'' to the society by killing great leaders.

He lauded the role of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in putting India on the track of scientific and technological advancement.

Late Rajiv Gandhi, Mr Azad said, belonged to the generation of leaders who upheld the principle of secular ideology at the cost of their lives.

''By assassinating great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, the terrorists had caused a severe setback to the society,'' he said.

Addressing a function on the 17th death anniversary of the former Prime Minister, Mr Azad termed RajivGandhi's assassination as ''a big loss'' to the country.

The militants, no matter whether they belonged to LTTE or were active in Jammu and Kashmir, had caused great setback to the society by assassinating great leaders, the Chief Minister said, asserting that killings of two leaders -- Molvi Muhammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone -- on this fateful day at the hands of militants. ''The two leaders believed in dialogue to address the issues which was not to the liking of their assassins'' he maintained.

Azad said upholding the secular principles and a fight against militant ideology would be the best tribute to Rajiv Gandhi.

Meanwhile, Pradesh Congress Committee president and Union Minister, Prof Saifuddin Soz, state Health Minister Mangat Ram Sharma and Member Parliaments Lal Singh and Madan Lal Sharma also spoke on the occasion and paid rich tributes to the departed leader.

UNI VJ AKJ HT1814

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