Sonia Gandhi addresses autism conference in Dhaka (Lead)

July 25th, 2011 - 4:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Dhaka, July 25 (IANS) Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), has said society should pay greater attention to autistic persons to “get back much in return”.

“If society nurtures them (autistic people), it will get back much in return,” Gandhi said at a two-day conference on ‘Autism Spectrum Disorder and Developmental Disabilities in Bangladesh and South Asia’ that began here Monday.

“There is much of it (autism) that we still do not understand. Science itself in the seven decade of research has not found clear answers or explanations for its causes,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Gandhi paid floral tributes to the martyrs of the 1971 Liberation War at the National Memorial in Savar, Daily Star reported.

She arrived in Dhaka Sunday night on an invitation from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and was accorded a red carpet welcome at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

The visit comes three weeks after a remark by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Bangladesh triggered protests by Bangladesh opposition parties and groups.

In an interaction with a group of editors here June 29, Manmohan Singh had said: “…Bangladesh, our relations are quite good. But we must reckon that at least 25 percent of the population of Bangladesh swear by the Jamaat-e-Islami and they are very anti-Indian, and they are in the clutches, many times, of the ISI.”

The Inter-Services Intelligence is Pakistan’s spy agency.

The remarks were intended to be off the record, but figured in the official transcript of the interaction. They were later deleted.

Besides attending the conference, Gandhi will also attend a special ceremony at Bangabhaban where President Zillur Rahman will confer the Bangladesh Freedom Honour posthumously on former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, who was in office during the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Gandhi will receive the award on behalf of her mother-in-law, who was assassinated in 1984.

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