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A statement circulated by Shri Ram Naik, BJP leader in a Press Conference held in New Delhi

"Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Congress Chief Smt. Sonia Gandhi should come clean about their stand on removal of Veer Savarkar's quotes from Swatantrya Jyot at Cellular Jail in Andaman Islands by Petroleum Minister Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar and also his latest outburst equating Savarkar with Mohammed Ali Jinha for partition of the country," demanded Shri Ram Naik, BJP leader and former Petroleum Minister. He was addressing media persons to day in New Delhi,

Giving information about the developments in respect of removal of Veer Savarkar's quotes, Shri Rain Naik said, "much water has flown into the Bay of Bengal after 9th August, the day on which Swatrantrya Jyot was dedicated to the Nation it] Cellular Jail after removing Veer Sawarkar's quotes. Protesting to Shri Aiyar immediately after the function, I wrote detailed letters to Prime Minister, Home Minister, Lok Sabha Speaker and also Leader of the Lok Sabha and requested them to ensure reinstatement of the plaque. I However though nearly three weeks have passed, none of them has even acknowledged the letters formally. The issue rocked both the Houses of the Parliament. Maharashtra State is in political turmoil on this issue. Public agitation is spreading. Besides political parties, the Journalists, freedom fighters and emminent persons have demanded reinstatement. Yet there is no response either from the Prime Minister or the Congress Chief."

Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar has come out with a mischievous argument that he has removed Veer Savarkar's quotes to rectify the insult to Mahatma Gandhiji'. Reacting to this argument, Shri Naik said, "basically Cellular Jail is known as the place where armed revolutionaries were either imprisoned or hanged. In keeping with the theme of memorial, all the quotes were taken from revolutionaries like Veer Savarkar, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Netaji Subhash Bose, Bhagat Singh and MadanIal Dhingra. While Mahatma Gandhi has played a major role in freedom movement, he was not one of the armed revolutionaries. There is something like 'Sthal Kal Vivek' (propriety of place and time). Hence Gandhiji's exclusion did not mean insult to him. Yet if the Government feels other wise, it is free to install a separate statue of Gandhiji there. However I must emphasise that as there cannot be Ramayan without Rama or Bhagwat Geeta without Shreekrishna, Swatantrya Jyot in Andamans is incomplete without Veer Savarkar. The removal of the original plaque is an insult to Veer Savarkar."

Shri Ram Naik also pointed that Shri Aiyar has also violated intellectual property rights of Sculptor Uttam Pacharne. Once a sculpture is finalised by the sculptor as per design and has been approved, the sculpture cannot be changed without permission of the sculptor. "Can any one remove the sword from Shivaji's statue or the famous stick (dand) from Ghandhiji's statue because one does not like it? Will it be wise? Is it desirable?," asked Shri Naik.

"The people are becoming restless. It is high time that the Prime Minister wakes up, reinstates the plaque and apologizes for the insult to Veer Savarkar and other revolutionaries," demanded Shri Naik at the end.

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