BHOPAL: On the 68th anniversary of execution of Nathuram Godse and Narayan Apte for assassinating Mahatma Gandhi, the Right-wing outfit Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha installed Godse’s metallic statue and opened a Godse temple at its Gwalior office in Madhra Pradesh on Wednesday, triggering a controversy.
The Congress took to street in Bhopal and Leader of Opposition in State Assembly Ajay Singh demanded lodging of treason case against those involved. The party demanded resignation of the Home Minister. “The BJP has over 25-26 affiliated wings that engage in bizarre acts. Later, it disowns their deeds,” Singh said.
The ruling BJP and saffron outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has distanced themselves from the incident. “People who have indulged in the act in Gwalior should be asked about it and not us. Only they can tell why they want a temple,” said VD Sharma, State BJP General Secretary, while VHP leader Rajesh Tiwari said, “Our organisation had no part to play in the statue installation or temple plan.”
The police higher-ups said the administration and police in Gwalior are aware of the development and are taking legal opinion, based on which appropriate action will be taken. “Cops are alert to deal with any law and order issue arising out of the development,” said Makarand Deuskar, Inspector General of Police (IG Intelligence).
The Hindu Mahasabha on Tuesday morning observed the anniversary of execution of its former members as Balidan Diwas. During the event, a 32-inch metallic statue of Godse, fashioned by a local idol-maker, was installed at a makeshift temple inside the Hindu Mahasabha office at Daulatganj locality of Gwalior.
“The statue was installed and the temple opened amidst chanting of Vedic shlokas, followed by abhishek of the idol of Godse, who is a nationalist and patriot for us. The 32-inch golden-coloured idol was funded by five of our leaders,” Hindu Mahasabha Vice-President Dr Jaiveer Bhardwaj told The New Indian Express.
“A week ago, we submitted a request to the Gwalior administration seeking land and permission for building the Godse temple, which was turned down. We decided to open the temple and install the idol at our office, for which we don’t need permission,” said Bhardwaj.
Another senior Hindu Mahasabha leader, Kailash Narayan Sharma, said splendour will be added to the makeshift temple in the coming days. “We want to tell the young generation the true history—that Godse was not a killer, but a Hindu nationalist who eliminated Gandhiji to protest the slaughter of 10 lakh Hindus during country’s partition in 1947.”
But why was the idol installed only in Gwalior? “Gwalior was Godse’s karmasthali,” Sharma answered, “We’re planning similar temples in all states. Godse statue exists in Karnataka and Meerut, but no one is protesting. Why is the Congress protesting only in MP?” he asked. Godse and aides are believed to have sourced the pistol, with which he fired at Gandhi on January 1948, from Gwalior.
State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh and Health Minister Rustam Singh (latter hails from Gwalior region) expressed ignorance over the incident.