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Govt washes hands off Savarkar row
August 27, 2004 23:05 IST
The Congress and government on Friday sought to distance themselves from Petroleum Minister Mani Shanker Aiyar's controversial remarks against freedom fighter Veer Savarkar, which has become a major issue in Maharashtra ahead of the assembly polls.
"Whatever Aiyar has said, we don't agree with it as he has said it in his individual capacity. The decision [to remove a plaque of Savarkar's quotes in Cellular Jail, Port Blair] was taken by the petroleum minister in his capacity as chairman of the Indian Oil Foundation," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said.
To drive home the point that the government was not involved in the matter, he said that the earlier decision to install the plaque was also taken by the then minister in his capacity as chairman of the Indian Oil Foundation.
The statement comes close on the heels of the Shiv Sena launching a jode mara (hit with footwear) agitation in Mumbai against Aiyar and the Congress for "insulting" Savarkar.
Meanwhile, the Swatantryaveer Savarkar Memorial Trust in Mumbai has sought an appointment with United Progressive Alliance chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to "clear the air" about the leader.
"We sought an appointment with AICC president Sonia Gandhi and were told that a meeting is possible in 8-10 days," president of the trust, Milind Gadgil, said.
"We will carry historical documents along with us about Savarkar's contribution to the freedom struggle and try to clear misunderstanding, if any," Gadgil said.
More reports from Maharashtra
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