Gandhi’s ashes stolen, photos defaced

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International desk, October 04: In a shocking development, some of Mahatma Gandhi’s remains were stolen on what would have been his 150th birthday, BBC reported on Thursday.The famous leader’s ashes were taken from a memorial in central India, where they had been kept since 1948 — the year of his assassination by a Hindu extremist.

The people behind the bizarre incident also scrawled the word “traitor” in green paint across photographs of the leader who is revered widely.

Some Hindu hardliners oppose Gandhi and his views because he advocated Hindu-Muslim unity. This is despite the fact that he was a devout Hindu himself.

According to BBC Hindi’s Shuriah Niazi, police in Rewa, in Madhya Pradesh state, confirmed that they were investigating the theft on the grounds of actions “prejudicial to national integration” and potential breach of peace. Mangaldeep Tiwari — the caretaker of the Bapu Bhawan memorial, where the ashes were kept — said the incident was “shameful”.

“I opened the gate of the Bhawan early in the morning because it was Gandhi’s birthday,” he told Indian news site The Wire. “When I returned at around 23:00, I found the mortal remains of Gandhi missing and his poster was defaced.”

Police sprang into action after Gurmeet Singh, a leader of the Congress party — filed a complaint.

“This madness must stop,” Mr Singh told the website. “I urge Rewa police to check CCTV cameras installed inside Bapu Bhawan.”

Mahatma Gandhi led a non-violent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India, inspiring people across the world.

Most Indians still revere him as the Father of the Nation. But Hindu zealots accuse him of having betrayed Hindus by being too pro-Muslim, and even for the division of India and the bloodshed that marked partition.