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Sonia calls for stern action

New Delhi, Aug. 19 (PTI): Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday called for swift legal action against people behind the violence in Assam.

She was addressing a ceremony to confer the 20th Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhawana Award in New Delhi. Prime Manmohan Singh was present along with cabinet colleagues and party leaders.

The award with a citation and Rs 5 lakh cash was given to D.R. Mehta, the founder of Bhagwan Mahaveer Vikalang Sahayata Samiti.

A concerned Sonia said the Assam violence was a matter of “great sorrow” and condemned the treatment meted out to people from the Northeast in its aftermath in some parts of the country.

“Whatever happened in Assam is a matter of great sorrow and concern. The central and the state governments should take stern action against those spoiling the harmony,” she said.

She said the country belonged to all Indians and that they have a right to live in any part. “If we look at history since Independence, the biggest challenge before the country has always come from those elements, who are enemies of social harmony and unity,” Sonia added.

“Those who have faced these elements and fought with them are the true warriors and in present circumstances, I consider only them true patriots,” Sonia said.

The Congress president said the late Rajiv Gandhi always fought against social and communal tensions, violence and hatred and sacrificed his life fighting them. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that Rajiv Gandhi knew very well that India can progress only when all the countrymen can live together with peace, tolerance and harmony.