Anna’s not first: In last 11 years,two statues led to fight at Gurgaon chowk

Vishwakarma followers wanted a statue of their deity,while BJP member wanted to put up one of Lala Lajpat Rai

Written by ANCHAL DHAR | Gurgaon | Published: January 5, 2014 3:29 am

Social activist Anna Hazare’s letter to BJP president Rajnath Singh saying a leader from his party was creating hurdles in installing his statue in Gurgaon,has generated interest in an otherwise nondescript roundabout in Old Gurgaon,near Jai Cinema.

Long before Anna’s letter,other parties too have tried putting up statues of their idols at the Sector 4/7 chowk and failed.

In 2003,the chowk had a small statue of Vishwakarma installed by the Vishkarma Panchal Mandir Sabha. Maniram Sharma,a member of the Sabha and Indian National Lok Dal leader,said,“There was no Vishkarma chowk in Gurgaon. So we installed a small statue for worshippers. Our mandir is located a few metres away. But then other community leaders too wanted a go at this piece of land.”

The same year,Haryana BJP leader and builder Umesh Aggarwal wrote to the municipal council,expressing his desire to build a statue of freedom fighter Lala Lajpat Rai and appease his Baniya community voters.

He submitted the proposal for a two-and-a-half foot stone statue of Rai. Under regulation number 8 and orders of the then-Deputy Commissioner,Aggarwal claimed that he got a go-ahead to build the statue on the 4/7 chowk in August 2003. “We installed the statue within a month and submitted a letter confirming the same to the council. It cost us nearly

Rs 2 lakh,” Aggarwal said.

So,the chowk came to have two statues,with the statue of Rai towering over the other. This irked the Vishwakarma camp and they filed a case in the Gurgaon court asking for permission to build a bigger statue of their deity.

“The court put a stay on the land and,in 2010,gave a verdict in our favour,” Aggarwal claimed,adding that he had documents to prove this.

In 2011,as the Anna movement grew,his Gurgaon-based supporters wished to install a statue in his honour,at — you guessed it — Sector 4/7 chowk.

“There was no other chowk available. An RTI plea filed by us revealed that the Lala Lajpat Rai statue was illegal,”

P L Kataria,an Anna supporter and leader of Haryana Berozgaar Samaj,said.

“I gathered about 400 samaj sewaks and I made door-to-door announcements. But the Congress and BJP leaders tried to stall our efforts. Aggarwal filed a complaint against me in 2012,” he said.

Kataria claimed he has collected Rs 1.2 lakh from people and had also sold his wife’s jewellery to get the 800-kilo statue of Anna made from Jal Mahal in Jaipur. Based on Aggarwal’s complaint,Kataria was arrested and later released on bail.

The bickering among local leaders ended in February 2013,when the government ordered that the statues be removed from the chowk to make way for a road-widening project.

However,in December 2013,Kataria met Anna at Ralegaon Siddhi during the Anna’s six-day fast for Jan Lokpal Bill. Kataria urged him to write a letter to BJP president Rajnath Singh,asking Singh to rein in his party member,who was opposing the installation of the Anna statue.

Following Singh’s intervention,Aggarwal has now agreed to help Kataria find a place to put up Anna’s statue.

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