Police launch probe after Gandhi cut-out defaced in India


Police have launched a probe into a complaint that a cut-out of India's independence hero Mahatma Gandhi was defaced at a museum during his 150th birth anniversary celebrations this week, officials said on Friday.

Unidentified people had scrawled "traitor" in green paint across the cut-out at the Bapu Bhawan memorial in Rewa district in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

Organisers from the Indian National Congress party discovered the disfigurement when they gathered at the memorial for a commemorative event on 2 October, Gandhi's birth anniversary.

"We are investigating who defaced the portrait but we do not have any leads and no arrests have been made yet," district police chief Abid Khan said by phone. Police also refuted claims from the complainant, Gurmeet Singh Mangu, a Congress party leader, that an urn containing Gandhi's ashes was missing, citing memorial staff that they were never kept in the museum.

The police had lodged a criminal case on the grounds of actions "prejudicial to national integration" and a potential breach of public peace, Khan said.

No one claimed responsibility for the action.

Hindu hardliners are opposed to Gandhi's ideology, which they blame for India's 1947 partition, which created Pakistan.

Gandhi was cremated in New Delhi after he was shot dead by a Hindu extremist Nathuram Godse on 30 January, 1948.

His ashes were placed in several urns and sent across the country for immersion in various rivers.    (dpa)


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