Police tightened security at a temple in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut on Friday to stop a Hindu group from installing a statue of Mahatma Gandhi's assassin Nathuram Godse on the death anniversary of the father of the nation.
District authorities didn't want to take any chances after Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha leaders performed a Bhumi Pujan ceremony at the city's Radha Krishna temple in December to install Godse's statue, drawing sharp criticism from the Congress and other parties.
"We beefed up security and deployed additional force to ensure law and order," said Vijay Pratap Yadav, circle officer of the Brahmpuri area. Mahasabha leaders have now decided to approach the high court. "Police didn't allow us to even perform our daily havan (prayer) ", said Ashoka Sharma, a member of the Mahasabha's central working committee.
Leaders of the Hindu group alleged officials had sealed the premises without hearing their pleas. "Followers of Gandhi are threatening followers of Godse," Sharma said.
Last month, BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj called Godse a patriot, triggering a controversy that led to the Rajya Sabha being adjourned several times. Godse also became the talk of town in Allahabad after city Congress leaders put up posters early Friday, seeking an explanation from PM Narendra Modi and RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on whether they thought Godse was a freedom fighter or a terrorist.
"Even Obama paid homage at Rajghat. But BJP leaders are issuing baseless statements on Godse," said Irshad Ullah, one of the Congress leaders behind the posters. The move, however, didn't go down well with senior party leaders.