Communal forces can become serious threat to democracy: Sonia

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New Delhi, Oct 31 (UNI) Cautioning that the communal forces could become a serious threat to the 'secular democracy' of the country, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today called for a relentless fight against them.

''Gandhiji understood this threat, and so did Indira Gandhi and they fought wholeheartedly against it. Now everybody, especially the Congress worker, has to do the same,'' said Ms Gandhi.

She was speaking after giving away the "Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for 2006" here this evening.

The award was shared by noted civil rights activists J S Bandukwalla and Ram Puniyani. They were presented Rs 1.5 lakh each as prize money, besides citations.

Congratulating the recipients, the Congress President said their devotion to the cause and the force of their ideas and values made them the most deserving candidates for the honour.

The award is given in memory of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as she was a symbol of the fight against communalism and sustained struggle for the cause of 'Sarva Dharm Sambahv and national integration, she said.

Ms Gandhi said the selection for honour was not easy as only those who have unflinching commitment to the cause of secularism and national integration are chosen. However, despite the deterioration of values in the society, there was still no dearth of people who go through trials and tribulations to lead the society towards harmony and peace.

In his remarks on the occasion, AICC Treasurer Motilal Vora, who is also the Member-Secretary of the Advisory Committee of the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration, said that Dr Bandukwalla and Prof Puniyani were selected for the award for "their yeoman work in promoting and preserving National Integration in the country".

They were the 22nd recipients of the annual award, instituted by the Congress to perpetuate the memory of Indira Gandhi. It is presented every year on October 31, the martyrdom day of Indira Gandhi.


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