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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Row flares up over Savarkar portrait installation at Belagavi jail

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Another controversy on Thursday flared up over installation of freedom fighter Veer Savarkar’s portrait at Belagavi’s Hindalga Central Prison.

The fresh controversy surfaced after a massive row erupted over the installation of Veer Savarkar’s portraits in Karnataka assembly, a week ago.

Veer Savarkar’s portrait was installed in the jail in the presence of Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh, who visited the place along with his party colleagues. He paid tribute to the freedom fighter by garlanding his portrait installed there.

Veer Savarkar’s portrait was installed in the prison following demands made by pro-Hindu outfits including Belagavi Saraswati Vachanalay. On 4 April 1950, Veer Savarkar was arrested and detained in Hindalga jail on the eve of the arrival of Pakistan Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. He was released 99 days later on July 13.

In 2016, Vachanalay had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then BJP National President Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in this regard.

Letters also were sent to the then Governor Vajubhai Vala and local BJP MP Suresh Angadi. Vachanalay Chairman PG Kulkarni had also claimed that a design of the statue was ready.

Meanwhile, Congress questioned the installation of Veer Savarkar’s portrait in the jail premises.

Earlier, the party had staged a sit-in protest on December 19, outside the Vidhana Soudha against installation of Veer Savarkar’s portrait inside the assembly.

Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar had alleged that Savarkar’s portrait was installed in the assembly to stop his party members from raising the biggest corruption issues against Basavaraj Bommai in the ongoing winter session of state legislature.

“They want our assembly proceedings not to take place. They want it disrupted. They brought this portrait because we were going to raise the biggest corruption issues against them,” he had stated.

Shivakumar said Savarkar doesn’t belong to Karnataka and is a controversial figure and has done nothing for India’s freedom movement, and wanted portraits of Valmiki, Kanaka Dasa, BR Ambedkar, APJ Abdul Kalam and others, instead.

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