Statue-Versus-Statute: Akali Dal Says Rajiv Structure An ‘Encroachment’; Congress Says Will Further ‘Beautify’ It 

Statue-Versus-Statute: Akali Dal Says Rajiv Structure An ‘Encroachment’; Congress Says Will Further ‘Beautify’ It Former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. (Photo by Sharad Saxena/The India Today Group/Getty Images)

In the wake of the vandalism that took place against former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s statue at the Salem Tabri area of Ludhiana, Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) [SAD] leaders have filed a complaint before the police commissioner against the statue stating that it encroaches upon public property, reports The Indian Express.

The group of complainants, led by SAD spokesperson Maheshinder Singh Grewal, contended that the statue had been put up without permission from the municipal corporation or any other official department. The statue is located right along a road which connects the city with the national highway.

Ludhiana’s Mayor Balkar Singh, who belongs to the Congress, sharply rebuked SAD’s demand, stating, “This statue was installed at the said place more than 15 years ago. For the past 10 years, SAD-BJP was ruling the House. Why did they not see any encroachment during that time. They could have got it removed during those 10 years. Why such a hue and cry now. He was our former PM who sacrificed his life for the nation. This statue has occupied not more than 50 sq yards on the road and we will get this agenda passed in the general house. Rather, we will also beautify this statue and put up some iron railing around it, so that no one can damage it again.”

In another controversy relating to the statue, an SAD leader Prabhjot Singh Dhaliwal has filed a police complaint against Congress leader Gursimran Singh Mand for cleaning Rajiv Gandhi’s statue with his own turban and milk. He details in his complaint that Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu was also present on the occasion and a few individuals in the crowd were shouting slogans against the Sikh community. Dhaliwal has alleged that those individuals also threatened to murder him.