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Mr Rajiv Ghandi

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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

22 May 1991 138/91


The wanton act of violence that caused, Mr Rajiv Gandhi's death today has robbed India of one of its most prominent and inspiring leaders. It has also deprived the world of a man widely admired for his commitment to democratic government and to constructive internationalism through organisations such as the Commonwealth, the Non Aligned Movement and the United Nations.

I have written this morning to India's High Commissioner in Australia asking him to convey my deep personal sympathy, and that of the Federal Opposition, to Mrs Gandhi and to the Indian Government.

Mr Gandhi became Prime Minister in 1984 in tragic circumstances following the assassination of his mother. It is one of history's tragic ironies that he himself has now been lost to his family, to his country and to the world by a

similar act of senseless violence.

The foundations of stable, democratic and peaceful government in India are very strong. I am confident that they will not only withstand this violent challenge but will continue to grow in strength and stature.



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