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Cong says Indira placard removed from PM event venue, FRI says it exists

FRI will host the main event on International Yoga Day on June 21 with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending it

dehradun Updated: Jun 18, 2018 21:00 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Yoga Day,Dehradun
The tree planted by Indira Gandhi in 1981 was uprooted in storm in 2010. The FRI had planted another one in its place. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

The Congress on Monday accused the city-based Forest Research Institute (FRI), where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will practice yoga on June 21, of removing a placard carrying name of former premier Indira Gandhi.

The placard was fixed at a tree planted by Gandhi at FRI in 1981, the Congress said. The FRI, however, termed the allegation as “false and baseless”.

Congress state unit spokesperson Sanjay Bhatt said the placard was removed deliberately before an event on the International Yoga Day to be attended by Modi.

“It has been done because the Modi government is afraid of Indira Gandhi’s clout in this country. Because of this, the FRI has removed the placard from the Rudraksha tree planted by her in the institute in 1981 ahead of his event,” said Bhatt.

He also said the FRI also removed placards bearing names of other leaders from trees planted by them, sparing only the one having name of the country’s first president Rajendra Prasad.

“Not only Indira Gandhi, but placards carrying names of former president Zakir Hussain and Congress leader Motilal Vora have also been removed.

This tree’s photo has gone viral on social media. This tree is located on another part of FRI campus. (Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT Photo)

“After the international cricket stadium issue, the Centre seems to be playing cheap tricks to impose its ideology,” said Bhatt.

When contacted, FRI director Savita refuted the allegations.

“The allegations are all false. The Rudraksha tree planted by former prime minister Indira Gandhi was blown away by a thunderstorm eight years ago in 2010,” said Savita, who goes by one name.

“After that the scientists of the staff tried to revive it but failed. Another Rudrakhsa tree was planted that is small in size but carry the name of former prime minister,” said she.

“The FRI is a central educational institute and I would request that nobody should frame such unnecessary allegations for any political mileage,” Savita said.

In a similar controversy last month, Congress leader Indira Hridayesh threatened to remove every name and raze every statue put up by the BJP government to protest renaming of Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium as Dehradun International Arena.

First Published: Jun 18, 2018 20:59 IST