A statue of the late Rajiv Gandhi in the Katra area of UP’s Mirzapur district was found damaged Sunday morning, prompting the Congress to announce a statewide protest on Monday. State party president Raj Babbar said the head of the statue was found in a nullah.
The culprits, he said, left a message below the damaged statue — “Humari sarkar hai, usey Pakistan bhej diya gaya (This is our government, he has been sent to Pakistan).” The incident took place a day after the Congress landed in a controversy when a map of India in a 15-page booklet distributed during state party in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad’s visit to Lucknow referred to a part of Kashmir as “Indian-Occupied Kashmir”.
Babbar said he would lead the protest in Mirzapur on Monday. An FIR has been lodged against unidentified persons in Katra police station on the basis of a complaint by city Congress president Abdul Wahid. It claims that the incident took place on the intervening night of May 3 and 4.
“Abdul Wahid has lodged a complaint against unidentified persons under section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) of IPC and Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. We are probing the incident. No arrest has been made so far,” said Srikant Rai, SHO, Katra. Declaring that his party will “wield its strength to show everyone how it takes revenge”, Babbar said, “Congress party ke ek ek karyakarta ka khoon khaul gaya hai (The incident has made every Congress worker’s blood boil). It is not merely a coincidence that the incident took place within a few hours of the CM’s visit to Mirzapur. It is a conspiracy. There are forces which are creating a divide. The head of the statue of a former PM and Bharat Ratna recipient was not only removed, but also thrown into a nullah.”
He further said, “The way incidents are taking place in Poorvanchal, the way lawlessness is being spread by just putting a saffron cloth around the neck… this cannot be coincidence. Congress will fight these forces and put pressure on the government to arrest and take action against the culprits.” Asked about the map fiasco, he said, “All I can say is that both the Congress and I regard Kashmir as an integral part of India. Those behind this mistake are being dealt with strictly.”