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India: Question of Two Locks and Protest call over locking the gates of Gandhi memorial at Rajghat

28 June 2018

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We are here to ask questions about the two locks. We are neither criticize anyone nor condemn or oppose anyone. But we want to register our deep and strong dissent. We want to state clearly that everyone should function within the ambit of democracy – even the governments! Be it the centre or the state, they do not own the nation; they are just an institution bound by the constitution as well as other limitations. They are not bigger than the people or the people’s will. 40 years ago, it has been proven in our fight against the emergency. The governments today are once again ignoring these realities. We are here to remind them of these.

Recently in the capital - New Delhi, something happened that has never happened before since independence. The Memorial of Mahatma Gandhi was locked down for two days without any explanation. A small notice was stuck on its doors: “Rajghat – will remain closed 24/6/18 – 25/6/18 till 11 am. We regret the inconvenience”. Neither the government nor the officers have bothered to explain — why will it remain closed? Who has ordered? What is the reason behind doing so? They clearly believe that they are the owners and theirs is the last word on everything. We are here to tell them that they are not the owners. If anyone can be called an owner in a democracy, it is the people of the country, and we as the citizen are here to ask you why were the doors closed? We have come to know that Vishwa Hindu Parishad wanted to conducts its program without any fear or disturbance across the road in the campus of Gandhi Smriti and that is why the doors were closed.
The doors of Rajghat have never been closed for the common people just because the government wanted to carry out its program or the program of the fellow travelers. This VHP has been well known for its hatred for Gandhi. For both the days neither the citizens nor the foreigners could visit Rajghat. They could not visit the Gandhi Smriti also. The Gandhi Smriti consists of many artefacts connected to Bapu. People go there to relive the memories of the Mahatma. The place also displays the gun carrier on which Bapu’s funeral procession moved on the last day.

All of these are the national heritage, and you are just the caretaker, tomorrow someone else be there. But the government of the day acted as the owner and used the place disgracefully. No body, neither any ministry nor the prime minister has any right to misuse the public institutions let alone that of the Bapu’s memorial. The place is bigger than any national or international institutions or governments. It is the heart of the millions’, their devotion and inspiration. The fact that it was locked shows either the foolishness or the shrewdness of the government.

The nation is seeing the irony of the situation. Those who always have abused and even killed Gandhi are chanting his name today. For their survival they are using the symbols of his specs, his broom, his cane, his idols, his 150thBirth Anniversary, and now they have stooped to the levels of using his Samadhi just to confuse the commoners as well as the young generations. They want to limit Gandhi to these symbols and project themselves as his heir! This is wrong, hypocrisy, duplicity and beguilement. They may be the tools of the power politics, but are venom for the society. And that is why we are here, so that all of us can speak out the difference between the real and the fake, between the truth and the lie, between the belief and the deceit. People must know that all those who were scared of Gandhi are the ones locking the doors of Rajghat to conceal their fear. We are sure that they want the keys of these locks to be lost forever; but we want the locks and the keys to be done away with permanently.

— Issued by the National coordination Committee of GANDHI :150 along with all the like minded organisations and participants on 29 June 2018

Invitation to Protest Meeting at Rajghat by Gandhians - 29 June 2018