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The Hindu
The Hindu
Shoumojit Banerjee

Fadnavis announces inquiry into Yakub Memon ‘grave beautification’

Following the row which erupted over alleged ‘beautification’ of the grave of Yakub Memon, a prime accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, Deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday announced an inquiry saying that a committee would be constituted to probe the matter.

After the ruling BJP alleged that Memon’s grave had been burnished with marble boundary and LED lighting under the watch of the erstwhile Uddhav Thackeray-led tripartite ‘Maha Vikas Aghadi’ coalition (of the Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress), the Opposition MVA came out strongly against the BJP’s attempt to divert attention from critical issues by disrupting social and communal harmony ahead of the civic polls.

Maharashtra Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Ajit Pawar said the BJP was raking up such matters as it did not have answers concerning soaring inflation and unemployment.

“Farmers are in a woeful situation today owing to the destruction of swathes of cropland owing to heavy rains and floods. Many are taking their lives every day. Instead, the ruling BJP is picking up such issues to divert people’s attention. There is no reason to give it any importance,” Mr. Pawar said.

At the same time, Mr. Pawar said that the ‘beautification’ of a terrorist’s grave should not have happened, regardless of whoever was the Chief Minister or whichever party was in power.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav faction) leader and former Minister Aaditya Thackeray targeted the BJP under the erstwhile Fadnavis government while questioning why Memon’s body was handed over to his relatives given that mortal remains of terrorists were not handed over to their kin as per rules.

“Why did the then BJP government [led by Mr. Fadnavis of which the Sena too was part] give Memon’s body to his family. How did they [the BJP] give permission for Memon’s funeral and cremation,’’ he asked.

Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe alleged that as the BJP had no answer to the main questions pressing the country today, it was “deliberately giving importance to religious issues.”

“The BJP is working to disturb the country’s religious environment by raising the issue of terrorist Yakub Memon’s grave in the run-up to the Mumbai Municipal Corporation election. But in 2015, Memon’s body was given to his family by the BJP government,” he said.

Mr. Londhe pointed out that when the Congress governments at the Centre and the State had hanged terrorists such as Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab respectively, both had been in unknown locations.

“The Congress had taken precautions to ensure that the terrorists were not exalted in society. However, the BJP government handed over the body of terrorist Yakub Memon to his family in 2015. BJP MPs Shatrughan Sinha and Varun Gandhi had also written a letter not to hang Yakub Memon. Will the BJP apologise for this,” he said.

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