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Sharon pays homage to Mahatma Gandhi
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | September 09, 2003 11:46 IST
Last Updated: September 09, 2003 14:01 IST
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited Rajghat on Tuesday morning and paid homage to the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
Rajnish Kumar, secretary, Rajghat Samadhi Committee, received Sharon and presented him a CD and a set of books on Gandhi.
"From Jerusalem, the city of peace, eternal capital of the Jewish people, I bring you a message of hope and peace," Sharon wrote in the visitors' book.
"Today Israel and India are embattled democracies, sharing values and the challenge of terrorism. United in our quest for life, liberty and peace our joint determination to fight for these values can inspire our hopes for a better future for our people."
Incidentally, the last VIP to sign this book was Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabeel Shaath, who came to Rajghat on August 28.
"Such a serene and simple place, a monument to a serene and a simple and great man, a friend of the Palestine People," Shaath had written.
The Delhi police had deployed 15 companies to protect Sharon.
According to a police official, intelligence agencies had taken over Rajghat at around 0900 IST, Monday.
Metal detectors were placed at the gates. Ring Road was closed to traffic an hour before Sharon's visit.
Due to security reasons, Sharon did not use the normal VIP gate to enter the complex. Instead, he took a backdoor entry. He was accompanied by senior ministers of his government and security officials. In all eight cars were used by the Israeli prime minister and his men to visit Rajghat.
"It is really a wonderful place," he told Rajnish Kumar.
The police felt relieved once Sharon left the complex at around 1000 IST.
"The threat perception to him was higher than Bill Clinton, who visited Rajghat in March 2000. We had to deploy more men to protect him then we did to protect Prime Minister Vajpayee on August 15," a junior police official told rediff.com