Gandhi assassination image on budget paper is a message, says Kerala govt, triggers row

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Thiruvananthapuram, February 7: The CPI (M)-led Kerala government on Friday stirred a hornet’s nest by putting an image depicting Mahathma Gandhi’s assassination on the cover of the 2020-21 state budget document presented in the assembly by finance minister Thomas Issac and insisting that it was meant to send a political message.
Opposition Congress and BJP decried the move and said it was avoidable. After a row erupted, Issac defended the picture by saying the country won’t forget Bapu’s killers.
“Yes, we remember Mahathma was murdered. We will not forget who murdered Gandhiji. He was murdered by Hindu communalists and many in the ruling party still rever them,” he said.
The image shows the father of the nation lying in a pool of blood as mourning supporters surround him. Issac said it was a painting by an artist from the state and its depiction was more relevant now as an attempt was being made to rewrite the history of the country.
“This is important at the time when history is being re-written. There is a concerted attempt to erase popular memories and use the National Register of Citizens to divide the country on communal lines. Kerala will stand united,” he said.
Kerala was the first state to pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and move the Supreme Court against the Central law that triggered widespread protests around the country.
State opposition leader, Congress’ Ramesh Chennithala said it was wrong to drag the father of the nation in a budget speech. “We have been fighting communal forces for long. But I don’t think it was an appropriate gesture,” he said.
BJP spokesman J R Padmakumar said it showed the bankruptcy of the left front government.
“Sad, they don’t have anything else to say or show,” he said.
Muslim League leader K M Muneer also slammed the decision. (Courtesy: HT)