Raila ends India visit, condemns terrorism

January 14, 2009 12:00 am

, GUJARAT, India, Jan 14 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga has used a visit to Mahatma Gandhi’s birthplace to condemn the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and call for a concerted effort to end terrorism.

Visiting a one-room house in Portbunder City, Gujarat, where India’s liberation icon was born, Mr Odinga urged all nations of goodwill to join hands and wipe out the ongoing terror campaigns.

"Terrorism has no place in modern society. Humanity has lost great leaders who would have changed the history of mankind to terrorists. But it is my conviction that terrorists should not be allowed to win and will never win," the premier said.

He condemned the acts of ‘terror’ that claimed the lives of two prominent members of the Gandhi family, namely Indira, who was assassinated in 1984 and her son Rajiv, who was blown up by a suicide bomber seven years later while on a campaign trail.

"These events both led India to critical moments and pushed their parties to overwhelming victories," the PM recalled.

Mr Odinga said he felt a sense of awe and ‘debt to humanity’ while standing in the house where Gandhi was born, which is now a place of worship and a museum. Later in his life, Gandhi moved from Portbunder to Ahmedabad City, still in Gujarat.

"The life that Gandhi lived, and his death in the hands of enemies of freedom, shows that if you live and die for your country, your name will never die," said Mr Odinga, while flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Musalia Mudavadi, Ministers William Ruto and Chris Obure, and Msambweni MP Kambi Kazungu.

The PM later visited the Arya Kanya School for girls in the Portbunder neighbourhood where he paid tribute to India’s womenfolk who aspired to high leadership positions, and achieved this.

The school was initiated by a private citizen who brought in a girl from the caste of the untouchables in India to lay the foundation stone. Mr Odinga said Indian women, despite their rigid social and traditional laws, had risen to levels many others could only dream of.

"When we educate the girl child, we educate the entire family and the entire nation and there is no better place to say that than in India," the PM said. "It’s women who raise families, not men. It’s women who inculcate values in children. Societies are better off when they educate the girl child."

The Premier, who has been in India since Saturday, had travelled to Ahmedabad for an investment summit.


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