10:23 GMT22 January 2021
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Several incidents of vandalism of the Mahatma Gandhi statue have been reported over the past few years as some people in India accuse him of dividing the nation into two parts in 1947. Despite becoming a symbol of non-violent political resistance around the world, many people have recently been challenging his legacy.

    A statue of Mahatma Gandhi, known as the Father of the Nation, was purportedly been vandalised and pulled down in the eastern tribal state of Jharkhand on Saturday night, with local police launching an investigation into the case.

    After the death of Gandhi, his ashes were preserved in a pot according to Hindu rituals and kept at this exact spot in Hazaribagh.

    Manoj Verma, secretary of the Gandhi memorial committee, has said that the incident took place on Saturday evening.

    “We are investigating to ascertain whether the statue fell itself or was vandalised. We are also checking CCTV footage and questioning some people", Manoj Kumar, chief of the Sadar Hazaribagh police station said.

    The damaged statue of the celebrated Indian independence leader was erected over several days in the Kumhar Toli area of Hazaribagh after Gandhi was assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a member of a Hindu organisation on 30 January 1948. Gandhi had delivered an important speech in the historic city of Hazaribagh in 1925.

    Meanwhile, local people have held protests in the area and are seeking action against the alleged miscreants.

    This is not an isolated case of damaging a statue of Mahatma Gandhi: in January, there were two reported incidents – one in Kazipet, Telangana and another in Amreli in Gujarat.

    Last year, similar incidents were reported in Kerala, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. In October 2018, on the birthday of the Father of the Nation, a copper urn believed to contain the ashes of Gandhi was stolen in the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh. Police had also registered a case against unknown people for defacing his poster in a museum on the same day.

    Some local leaders, including parliamentarian from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have tried to challenge the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi. Anantkumar Hegde, a BJP lawmaker, has criticised Gandhi, describing his leadership of the freedom movement as nothing but a "big drama" staged with the "consent and support of the British".

    Last year, Pragya Singh Thakur, another parliament member from the BJP, termed Nathuram Godse– who shot Gandhi in the chest three times at point blank range on 30 January 1948 – a patriot. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior member of the party immediately issued strong condemnations of her statement.


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    Vandalism, statue, Narendra Modi, Mahatma Gandhi, India
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