Protests expected as India prepares to unveil world's largest statue
Protests expected as India prepares to unveil world's largest statue
India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue
31 October, 2018, 13:13
"I am fortunate to dedicate this statue of Sardar Sahab to the nation", Modi said.
India on Wednesday unveiled the world's tallest statue in the western state of Gujurat in celebration of her unity.
"October 31 also is the death anniversary of our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi".
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the government of "treason", saying there was a "systematic destruction" of institutions that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had helped build.
Questioning the critics of the structure, Modi said it "amazed" him that "some people" would "see this initiative from a political view" and "criticise us like we committed a huge crime". The raft construction of the structure actually begun on 19 December 2015, and took 33 months to complete. "Is remembering country's great personalities a crime?" he asked.
Modi, who ordered the statue built on the Narmada river when he was Gujarat chief minister, said previous year there had been efforts to "belittle" or "remove from history" the contributions of Patel, who helped unite India's 562 princely states as the first home, or interior, minister.
This is not the first time the villagers and local activists have been detained ahead of the prime minister's programme at Kevadia Colony.
The Statue of Unity is part of a memorial to the Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who died in 1950.
Gujarat government chief secretary JN Singh said that dance troupes from across India would perform at the inauguration. "He saved India from balkanisation... today, we, the 130 crore Indians, are working shoulder to shoulder to build a new India that is strong, prosperous and inclusive".
At 597 feet, it is reportedly the tallest statue in the world, and almost twice the size of New York's Statue of Liberty.
Iron was procured from around the country to commemorate the "Iron Man of India". Below the statue will be a three-storey visitors' centre housing a museum, an audio visual gallery, and a laser and sound show-all designed around the theme of unification of India.
In an open letter addressed to Modi, sarpanches of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river have said villagers will not welcome the prime minister when he arrives for the function.
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She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl. Islamists in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi and in the northwestern city of Peshawar were also gathering for the protests.
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