Guwahati, Aug 9: The decision of Kamrup (Metro) district administration to remove the 47-year-old iconic statue of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi atop the Gandhi Mandap in Guwahati invited sharp criticism from various quarters of the state.
The decision was taken in a meeting chaired by Kamrup Metro DC Dr M Angamuthu in the presence of BJP MLA Sidhartha Bhattacharya on Monday. The meeting also decided to evict all encroachers for development of the Gandhi Mandap under smart city Project. Opposing the move, Assam Freedom Fighters Association president Jatin Goswami said, “the statue is an honour to the state. We will not allow the government to remove the Mahatma’s statue”.
“We don’t approve the move of the government and we will submit a memorandum to the administration to withdraw its decision to keep the statue in its original place”, Goswami said. “It is not a good move…it cannot be allowed. We have sent for the detailed papers on the administration’s decision,” said a spokesperson of Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust.
“The statue was installed during the time of Congress government headed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Now the BJP-led government wants to remove all statues put up by Congress”, she claimed. “The statue was made by an Bengali sculptor like Ramkinkar Baij. The bronze statue is a pride of Assam and we are fortunate to have it in our state”,
Heritage Conservation Society of Assam president Manik Bora said, “removal of the statue will be criminal and unfortunate. We strongly condemn the move of the administration to remove the statue and we will protest against it”, said the noted art critic and film maker.
However, DC Dr Angumuthuy said, “We will discuss with senior citizens before we take a final decision on the removal of the statue.” Guwahati Mayor Mrigen Sarania said the move to remove the statue was because “Its condition is bad with the Mahatma’s spectacles and its body parts broken”. When pointed out that repairs could be made for restoring the statue as is done for historical monuments and artworks across the globe to maintain heritage treasures, Sarania replied, “that will show disrespect to the original creator”.