Gandhi’s ashes stolen and photo vandalised after 150th birthday celebrations, reports say

Hindi words for ‘anti-national’ scrawled across poster, according to local media

Zamira Rahim
Thursday 03 October 2019 16:20 BST
Mahatma Gandhi statue unveiled in Parliament Square

Some of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes have reportedly been stolen from a government building in India on the anniversary of his birth.

An urn was stolen overnight from the Bapu Bhawan memorial in the state of Madhya Pradesh, where they have been kept since 1948, according to local news site The Wire.

A poster bearing Gandhi’s face was also defaced, with the Hindi words for ”anti-national” scrawled across it.

The memorial's caretaker Mangaldeep Tiwari told The Wire: “I opened the gate of the Bhawan early in the morning because it was Gandhi’s birthday. When I returned at around 11 pm, I found the mortal remains of Gandhi missing and his poster was defaced. This is shameful.”

The theft follows celebrations in the country to mark the 150th anniversary of the independence leader’s birthday.

Events were held across the country, with prime minister Narendra Modi paying an early morning tribute at the Raj Ghat memorial on the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi.

The independence leader’s legacy has been the subject of contentious debates in recent days.

Gandhi was shot dead by a Hindu extremist in 1948.

Despite being a Hindu himself, some Hindu hardliners view him as a traitor for his advocacy of Hindu-Muslim unity.

After his death he was cremated but his ashes were not scattered in a river in accordance with Hindu belief. Instead, several urns containing his ashes were dispatched to his followers across the country to be displayed at memorials.

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