Days after it came out with a policy, where it had sought a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from members of a minority community for every new statue that would be installed in the state, the Maharashtra government has decided to remove the clause.
The afterthought seems to have come with consideration of the social strife that such a requirement could cause. On Saturday, the general administration department (GAD) issued a corrigendum stating that Clause 6 of the new policy, which had sought an NOC from members of the minority community as well as locals, stood scrapped. The new rule only makes it imperative to get a report stating that locals do not have a problem with the statue.
“It is a clause that could have led to social strife. It could have been worded better. In today’s times we need to be careful of such issues and it was felt that remedial measures were needed before a controversy was created,” said a senior state official.
On May 2, the government came out with a policy that made it mandatory for those planning to erect a statue of national or local icons and leaders to submit a clearance from the police, stating that the minority community in the locality or locals are not opposed to the move. The precondition came four months after an incident involving pulling down of a statue of Marathi poet and playwright Ram Ganesh Gadkari at Pune’s Shambhaji Udyan. On January 3, workers of Shambhaji Brigade had pulled down the statue, claiming that Gadkari’s books painted Shambhaji Maharaj in poor light.