Guntur, AP: Authorities in this southern town found it easier to take action against Mahatma Gandhi following complaints by local residents that a bar-cum-liquor shop had been allowed to open right next to a statue of the Father of the Nation.
Since the Neelima Bar had already obtained a license from the Andhra Pradesh government and could not be ousted that easily, they did the next best thing: Earlier this week, they evicted the Mahatma from his pedestal and moved him to some undisclosed location.
While the bar’s papers were in order, Gandhiji, it turns out, had no permission to occupy his pedestal.
A senior municipal corporation official said that they went into their records after Gandhians started protesting about the location of the bar. They discovered the authorities had never given permission for the statue and accordingly pasted an eviction notice onto it.
“Because it was a statue of the Father of the Nation the department had not initiated any action [all these years],” he said. “The statue had been there since the past 23 years. As no one came forward to claim it, the department removed it,” he added.
The Gandhi association and Guntur Congress leaders are upset by the prompt action the district administration took against the statue following a broad protest by people against the location of the bar at Pattabipuram in Guntur.
Rama Rao, a resident of the area failed to understand how a liquor shop could be opened in front of the statue which had been standing for two decades in the same place. “It is not only an insult to the father of the nation but entire country,” he said.
In his lifetime, Gandhi was an advocate of prohibition.