Communal harmony needed to keep terrorists at bay : Sonia

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New Delhi, Sep 1 (UNI) Identifying communal disharmony as the biggest threat to national unity, especially in the context of violence in Orissa, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asked all political parties not to encourage use of religion for political purposes.

"Communal harmony is necessary if we are to deny terrorists their aim of creating disharmony to destabilise the country," she said in her letter to Congresspersons published in the Party's mouthpiece "Congress Sandesh." Ms Gandhi said the rise of fundamentalist forces within the country was the handicap that India suffered since the 1990s.

"The use of religion for political purposes, often blatantly encouraged by established political parties, goes against the basic principles of our Constitution," she argued, while maintaining that "it stands opposed to India's own tradition of cultural plurality." In this context, she said the problems of poverty, illiteracy and discrimination affected members of every community and need to be addressed at the national level by all political parties.

"Nobody should be allowed to play politics with poverty or religion." Ms Gandhi said any attempt to disrupt communal harmony in any part of the country and create hate and distrust between communities must be resisted by all. "This now constitutes the biggest threat to national unity." UNI SH RSA UCS2048

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