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Row in Odisha over Mahatma Gandhi’s death

THE ASIAN AGE. | AKSHAYA KUMAR SAHOO
Published : Nov 16, 2019, 2:41 am IST
Updated : Nov 16, 2019, 2:41 am IST

Congress legislature party leader Narasingh Mishra demanded an apology from chief minister Naveen Patnaik holding him responsible for the blunder.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)
 Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Bhubaneswar: An Odisha government booklet describing Mahatma Gandhi’s death as an “accident” has triggered a row as both Congress and ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) members on Friday condemned the matter in the state Assembly.

Congress legislature party leader Narasingh Mishra demanded an apology from chief minister Naveen Patnaik holding him responsible for the blunder.

“This is deplorable. I hold the chief minister responsible for this. He needs to beg apology to the people. If he has knowingly done it, I demand his resignation. People of the country can never excuse him,” said Mr Mishra in the Assembly.

The two-page booklet “Aama Bapuji: Eka Jhalaka” (Our Bapuji: A Glimpse) prepared by state school and mass education department said Mahatma Gandhi died due to accidental reasons on January 30, 1948 at Delhi’s Birla House.

“What does it mean? It means that Odisha government has accepted that Godse is not the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi even though he has already been hanged. This is unfortunate,” said Mr Mishra.

Since some Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are describing Nathuram Godse, who assassinated Gandhi, as God, it seems the BJD is influenced by the ideology, said Mr Mishra.

He slammed both the BJP and BJD saying that both are two sides of the same coin. BJD member Soumya Ranjan Patnaik also condemned the misrepresentation of the way the Mahatma was assassinated. He said it is conspiracy to recreate history and all should condemn by rising above political consideration, said Mr Patnaik.

Following discussion, Speaker Surya Narayan Patro directed the government to give a reply on Saturday.

The state government has ordered a probe into the incident.

“Whoever has done it would be taken to task. The death of Mahatma should have been clearly mentioned the way he was killed. It should have been elaborated clearly how he was killed,” School and mass education minister Samir Ranjan Dash toldmedia after the matter was raised in the House.

Sources said the government has already started the process of withdrawing the booklet from schools.

Meanwhile, Rastriya Yuva Sangathan, a socio-cultural platform, Friday announced to stage a protest before Dash's official residence on Saturday. “Gandhiji’s killing was a well planned conspiracy. The conspirators succeeded in killing Gandhiji in their seventh attempt,” said its national convenor, Biswajit.

Incidentally, Odisha is the home of Raghu Nayak, the gardner at the Birla House in Delhi who caught Godse after the killing on January 30, 1948.

Tags: odisha government, mahatma gandhi
Location: India, Odisha, Bhubaneswar