The 68th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, to be marked on Saturday, has become an arena of competing ideologies trying to own his legacy.
The BJP-led government in Goa denied access to its premises for the scheduled release of a book on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse on occasion of the Gandhi’s death anniversary on Saturday amid protest by a local political outfit and to possibly avoid a potential controversy.
However, Anup Sardesai, the writer of the book titled ‘Nathuram Godse – The Story of an Assassin’, said he would go ahead with its release at a different venue.
In a late evening communication to the state-run Ravindra Bhavan in Margao, the venue of the release, South District Collector Pramod Shinde asked its management not to allow release of the book.
Sardesai said, “I received an e-mail from Ravindra Bhavan stating that the venue will not be allowed to be used for the release of the book due to unavoidable circumstances”.
He said he would proceed with the release at a different venue.
“I will inform about the venue to my audience. I have also informed police about the new venue,” Sardesai added.
Earlier in the day, ‘Goa Forward’, launched by former state election commissioner Prabhkar Timble recently, opposed letting of the government premises for the release of the book which it termed as an “unpatriotic cause”.
Interestingly, BJP leader Damodar Naik, chairman of Ravindra Bhavan, was supposed to release the book.
Naik had said that the venue was booked through a normal procedure and there was no ulterior motive behind holding the function.
“We will hold ‘satyagraha’ in front of Ravindra Bhavan if the government allows the function to happen,” Goa Forward secretary Mohandas Lolienkar told PTI.
He also claimed that the protest has been supported by various sections of people including independent legislator Vijai Sardesai.
Lolienkar had threatened to block all entrances of Ravindra Bhavan even as the party submitted a memorandum to South Goa district collector requesting cancellation of the function.
“Though the event appears innocuous, it is timed for January 30 which is the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi,” Fatorda legislator Vijai Sardesai said.
He termed the function as a “veiled celebration of a murder” and a deliberate design to disturb peace and harmony and to provoke and incite people by insulting the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
Meanwhile, author of the book said he was caught up in a political storm and rivalry between two political parties.