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Bhagvad Gita near Abdul Kalam’s statue triggers controversy

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A carved ‘Bhagavad Gita’ near the statue of late president, APJ Abdul Kalam has triggered a new controversy, with his family seeking to end the issue by placing a copy of Quran and Bible near the sculpture. However, leader of a local Hindu outfit opposed placing of Quran and Bible saying, “no permission was taken” for the same.

The officials manning the memorial kept the Bible and Quran in a glass box at the surrounding area of the statue. The memorial was inaugurated by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on 27 July.

But, Hindu Makkal Katchi leader, K Prabhakaran filed a complaint claiming that the two holy books (Quran and Bible) were placed without permission from establishment. “I respect all these books. But keeping them (in the memorial) without permission is wrong. Steps should be taken to see that such things are not done again,” he said.

On the other hand, Vaiko-led MDMK and the PMK have raised questions on the need for keeping the engraved ‘Bhagavad Gita’ alongside the statue.

The statue of Kalam can be seen as playing musical instrument ‘veena’ in the Rs 15 crore memorials. It was designed and built by the defence research and development agency with which Kalam was connected for a long. Apart from that, about 900 paintings and 200 photographs of Kalam, who held the office of president from 2002 to 2007, are on display at the memorial.

On the issue, Kalam’s relatives Sheik Dawood and Salim said, “An unnecessary controversy was raised by some people. DRDO officials worked tirelessly for the memorial construction and had not sculpted the Bhagavad Gita near the statue with any (ill) intention. Now we have left two books — Quran and Bible near the statue”. Kalam was a leader to all Indians and no one should seek to politicise the issue, they added.

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