The Hindu Mahasabha on Wednesday set up a shrine in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior for Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, the Hindustan Times reported. The Congress immediately reacted, demanding sedition charges against the organisation.
The right-wing organisation said it installed Godse’s bust to mark the anniversary of his execution. Godse was hanged in Ambala on November 15, 1949.
Hindu Mahasabha Vice President Jaiveer Bharadwaj told News18 that Godse stayed at the group’s office in Gwalior the week before he shot Gandhi dead in Delhi. He said the temple was meant to create awareness among the youth as the events surrounding the life of Godse were “often distorted”.
Bharadwaj also dismissed the Congress party’s reaction, saying it should not have a problem with any statue or temple on Godse as the “perspective on Gandhi has been changing with the time”.
On October 2, 2016, the Hindu Mahasabha had installed a bust of Godse at its Meerut office.
The Congress has called it “an anti-national act”. “Punitive action should be taken against the perpetrators,” Spokesperson KK Mishra was quoted as saying by the Hindustan Times. “How can the BJP-led state government allow a temple dedicated to the killer of Mahatma Gandhi? This shows the party’s mindset.”
The Madhya Pradesh government tried to steer clear of the controversy, and the local administration said it did not know whether the bust was installed with permissions.
“If anybody wants to set up a shrine or a temple within their property, I don’t think they need permission,” Gwalior Mayor Vivek Shejwalkar told the newspaper. BJP Spokesperson Deepak Vijayvargiya said it was up to the local administration to take a call on whether such a shrine can exist.