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In MP Governor’s House, Photos of Gandhi and Savarkar Installed Together, Spark Controversy

Savarkar was accused of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, but was acquitted by the court, owing to the lack of witnesses.

The move to install a photo of former Hindu Mahasabha President late Vinayak Damodar Savarkar – also known as Veer Savarkar – adjacent to that of Mahatma Gandhi in governor’s house has sparked a controversy in the state.

Ahead of the Independence Day, the governor’s house in the state was decorated with garlands and colorful lights, while photos and posters of the freedom fighters have also been installed, and have been opened for public to remind them of the freedom fighters and their struggle.

Savarkar was accused of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, but was acquitted by the court, owing to the lack of witnesses. Moreover, the assassinator of Gandhi, Nathuram Godse was also associated with Hindu Mahasabha and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

It is noteworthy that Savarkar served as the president of the Hindu Mahasabha, and endorsed the idea of India as a Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation). Moreover, he opposed the Quit India struggle in 1942. He became a fierce critic of the Indian National Congress, and further its decision to accept the proposal of the country’s partition. 

Earlier, a statue of Godse was installed in Gwalior district in the state as well, which was later removed by the police after severe criticism. Moreover, on the birth anniversary of Godse (May 19), members of Hindu Mahasabha were seen celebrating it by distributing sweets, limewater in Bhopal, though, it was stopped, as Congress members protested against it.  

As per the visitors, on the day of opening, the poster of Savarkar was installed at four different places, while freedom fighter and first Prime Minister of the country Jawaharlal Nehru was missing, along with the Muslim freedom fighters like Tipu Sultan. However, after criticism, the posters were installed the following day.

Commenting over the issue, Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said, “Installing a photo of Veer Savarkar adjacent to Mahatma Gandhi is awful. Are they leader of similar statute? They are promoting Hindutva agenda wherever they get any opportunity. They are promoting a man, who was accused in assassination of Gandhi and putting his poster adjacent to Gandhi.”

 Talking about the Jawaharlal Nehru poster he said, “I visited there, but found no photo of Nehru, but a day after it was installed there. Jawaharlal was not only a Congressman, but also a freedom fighter and first prime minister of the country. He should be kept out of this (agenda).”   

Coming down heavily on the BJP, Congress spokesperson said that the BJP government had a history of defaming freedom fighters. Similar situation had emerged in the opening of Shaurya Smarak – a war memorial inaugurated by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 14, 2016, where the government had excluded the names of martyr Muslim soldiers.

When contacted, Raj Bhavan Press Officer Rajendra Singh Rajput refuted any claim of promoting Hindutva agenda. He said, “The photos were installed by contractors, and not by us. We have only given photos and told them where to install it. They have mistakenly installed it next to Gandhi.”

When asked about the missing posters of freedom fighters that were installed later after the criticism, he said, “This is untrue. We have installed posters of every freedom fighter who took part in it since the first revolt.”

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