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Family Seeks To End 'Gita Row' By Putting Quran And Bible Next To Kalam's Statue

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| July 31 , 2017 , 17:55 IST

After a controversy kicked up over an engraved 'Bhagavad Gita' near the statue of late President A P J Abdul Kalam, his family has placed a Quran and Bible near it seeking to end the row.

However, the local Hindu leader, who were initially objecting over the Gita, are expressing disagreement for placing Quran and Bible near the statue as well.

Therefore, the officials manning the memorial, which was recently inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 27, have put the Bible and Quran in a glass box in the statue's vicinity.

Claiming that two holy books were placed near the former President's statue without authority permission, Hindu Makkal Katchi leader K Prabhakaran has filed a police complaint.

He said, "I respect all these books. But keeping them (in the memorial) without permission is wrong. Steps should be taken to see that such things are not repeated."

Vaiko-led MDMK and the PMK have raised questions on the need for keeping the engraved 'Bhagavad Gita' alongside the wooden statue of Kalam playing the musical instrument 'Veena' in the Rs 15 crore memorial, designed and built by the Defence Research and Development Agency with which Kalam was associated for a long time.

Kalam's relatives Sheik Dawood and Salim, however, have said that "An unnecessary controversy was raised by some people. DRDO officials worked tirelessly for the memorial construction and had not sculpted the Bhagavad Gita near the statue with any (ill) intention. Now we have left two books - Quran and Bible near the statue".

They said Kalam was a leader to all Indians and no one should seek to politicise the issue.

An MDMK spokesperson said party founder Vaiko had already questioned the need for a Bhagavad Gita there when Kalam used to refer only from 'Thirukkural'.

The Peikarambu memorial, inaugurated by the Prime Minister on the second death anniversary of the popular scientist and former President A P J Abdul Kalam at his home town, also has on display a replica of rockets and missiles on which the late scientist had worked.

The memorial also displays over 900 paintings and 200 rare photographs of Kalam, who held the President's office from 2002 to 2007.