SAHGAL BLASTS SANGH ON KASHMIR 

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By FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT in Chennai
  • Published 7.07.02
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Chennai, July 7 :    Chennai, July 7:  Defending her decision to contest in the presidential election, Left nominee Captain Lakshmi Sahgal has said the Sangh parivar by intensifying its communal agenda, including the proposal to trifurcate Jammu and Kashmir, had validated and rejuvenated her campaign against the communal forces, though hers was a "symbolic political fight". "The unity that we have built in this campaign in such a short duration so far will continue even after the presidential elections," Sahgal said. Sahgal was in Chennai yesterday on the first leg of her campaign in the south for the July 15 presidential election. She is campaigning in Bangalore today. Sahgal warned that there could be "nothing more disastrous" to the country than the Sangh parivar's idea of dividing Jammu and Kashmir into not three but four parts with Jammu being made a separate state, Ladakh a Union Territory, the Kashmir Valley made into separate territory and another state for the Kashmiri Pundits. Punctuating her address in halting Tamil, since she originally hails from Tamil Nadu and had graduated from Madras Medical College, Sahgal said the people in Kashmir, where the majority are Muslims, had rejected the "Two Nation Theory" and joined India in 1947 and "that has been the plank on which our democracy and secularism has been based." Nothing worse can happen to India than this plank being undermined by the Sangh parivar's proposal, she said, adding, "a move which we have resisted all these years losing so many people and spending so much money." Expressing shock and pain that the Sangh could even think of such a proposal, Sahgal said her campaign for the presidency was not a "question of winning or losing". "We want our voices to be heard by the people of India," she said. Asserting that all problems could ultimately be solved only through dialogue and not by "armed confrontation", Sahgal opposed the idea of a burgeoning defence budget when there was still so much poverty and unemployment in India. "People still do not know the consequences of having atomic weapons," she said and disagreed with the concept of "nuclear deterrence".