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‘Unnecessary controversy’: Tamil parties oppose Bhagavad Gita sculpture at Abdul Kalam’s memorial

Some groups said the Thirukkural should have been placed beside the former president’s statute.

A sculpted Bhagavad Gita beside former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s statue at his memorial in Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram has sparked a controversy. Chief of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Vaiko on Sunday questioned whether the Narendra Modi-led government had “an ulterior motive” in placing the Gita beside Kalam.

“Is the Gita above the Thirukkural, the only book which is qualified to be placed in the memorial?” he said, according to The Times of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled the state after the memorial was inaugurated on July 27 on Kalam’s his second death anniversary. It was built at his burial site in Pei Karumbu.

Kalam’s family is believed to have placed a copy of the Quran and the Bible beside the statue to appease those voicing their discontent, but this was also was met with opposition. Hindu Makkal Katchi leader K Prabhakaran has filed a police complaint against the family’s move, alleging that they had not taken permission from authorities before placing the two holy books beside Kalam’s statue, CNN-News-18 reported.

The former president’s family said that an “unnecessary controversy” was being created. Kalam’s relatives Sheik Dawood and Salim told PTI on Sunday that the Defence Research and Development Organisation, which built the memorial, had not sculpted the Bhagavad Gita near the statue with any intention and that the matter should not be politicised.

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