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'NYT, disown remarks against Sonia'

india Updated: Oct 09, 2007 18:36 IST

PTI
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Non-Resident Indians for a secular and harmonious India, along with three other organisations of NRIs, have asked the

New York Times

to disown the remarks made against Congress President Sonia Gandhi in a full page advertisement taken out by Gandhi Heritage Foundation on Saturday.



In a letter sent to the Editors of the paper, they said the advertisement was not only in "extremely poor taste" but also "misleading and offensive".



Indian Foundation, Vaishnava Centre for Enlightenment and NRI Coalition for Justice were co-writers of the letter. A copy of the letter which was sent to the

Times

on Sunday was made available to the press by the authors.



The ad had questioned the credentials of Sonia to speak at the United Nations on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and had accused her of "misappropriating" his name to get political mileage.



Rebutting that, the letter pointed out that she did not misappropriate the name of Mahatma Gandhi.



"Gandhi is a common name in India. She was married to late Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister. Hence her name is Mrs Sonia Gandhi. To say that she misappropriated her 'Gandhi' name is an insult to your readers," the letter said.



Sonia, it pointed out, had herself campaigned all over the country in the last election which brought Congress-led coalition into power. "How is that undemocratic?" as alleged in the ad, the letter asked.



India, the letter said, is a pluralistic society and its secular Constitution allows religious freedom. It also rejected the allegation that there have been forcible conversions to Christianity, pointing out forced conversions are illegal in the country.