On Friday, September 3, the statue of the nationalist Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia went ‘missing. It triggered a row with the opposition leader Digambar Kamat and Goa Forward Chief Vijai Sardesai slamming the BJP government for ‘fake nationalism’.
The Opposition Leader along with MMC officials, descended on the Lohia Maidan on Friday morning, demanding to know the whereabouts of the missing statue, and asked them to restore the statue and the Martyrs Memorial in a secured position after the renovation of the Lohia Maidan.
“On my visit to Lohia maidan now, shocked to note that the Statue of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia & Martyrs Memorial is Missing. I demand @goacm must take note of it & ensure that they are traced & secured. This exposes @BJP4India has no respect for Freedom Fighters & their Families,” Kamat had tweeted, causing a stir.
“The BJP Government, who feels that all events happened in India only after 2014. It has tried to destroy places of historical importance. I am shocked to note that the Statue of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and the Martyrs Memorial is missing from Lohia Maidan. This incident exposes fake nationalism of the BJP”, he said, demanding that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant immediately take note and ensure that the Statue and the Memorial are tracked and secured, said news agency ‘The Goan Everyday’.
However, on Saturday, the Goa State Urban Development Agency issued a statement saying that the statue had been “carefully dismantled” and is in safe custody.
“Goa State Urban Development Agency has informed the general public that the work of ‘beautification of Lohia Maidan at Margao, Goa is taken up by GSUDA. The GSUDA has covered the dismantled statue properly and kept it in the godown in safe custody,” the agency said in a statement, a day after Leader of Opposition and local Congress MLA Digambar Kamat expressed surprise over the missing statue.
Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia was an activist in the Indian independence movement and a socialist political leader. During the last phase of British rule in India, he worked with Congress Radio which was broadcast secretly from various places in Bombay until 1942.