After a statue of Rajiv Gandhi in Ludhiana was set on fire on Wednesday by two Nihang Sikhs, Congress leaders reached the spot to clean it. In a video, Congress leader Gursimran Singh Mand was seen cleaning the statue with his turban. The Controversial Congress leader said that if the government does not take action against the Nihang Sikhs responsible for the incident, he will kill them.
Gursimran Mand said that the insult of the former Prime Minister will not be tolerated, and the govt must take action against the culprit. He said that if the culprits are not thrown into the jail, he will take action against them himself. The statue was set on fire by two Nihang Singhs Ramandeep Singh and Satpal Navi.
Cleaning the statue using his turban, Mand appealed the people not to insult the former Prime Minister. Insulting Rajiv Gandhi was like insulting the entire Punjab, he said. He also added that no politics should not be done on the issue.
However, the use of the turban by him to clean the statue stirred controversy, as it is considered a holy garment.
Condemning the incident, senior Congress leader Parminder Mehta said, “It is shameful. It is an insult of the entire country. We request police to register a sedition case against the culprits, so that such an incident does not occur again.”
The action by the Nihang Singhs was triggered by the announcement by Mand that he will get more statues of Rajiv Gandhi installed in Ludhiana. In a video released after the incident, Ramandeep Singh had said that they did in response to Gursimran Singh Mand’s announcement that he will get more statues of Rajiv Gandhi installed in the city.
‘Mand is conspiring with the administration to raise more statues of Rajiv Gandhi. We are already hurt with the statues across Punjab. We cannot tolerate this any more. Any statue of the killers of Sikhs if raised in Punjab, we will burn them down,’ Ramandeep had said in the video.
In the video of the incident, the statue is seen wrapped in a cloth. Ramandeep and Satpal had poured petrol on it and set it on fire.
Both the culprits have been arrested by the police. ADCP-1 Pragya Jain said, “Accused Ramandeep Singh Nihang and Satpal Singh Navi have been arrested. Both have a criminal background. Ramandeep has six FIRs against him and Satpal 17.” Police have registered an FIR against them under sections 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage), 153A (promoting enmity) of IPC, and sections of the IT Act, Defacement of Property Act, at the Salem Tabri police station.
This is not the first time Gursimran Sing Mand stirred controversy by cleaning statues with his turban. In December 2018, another statue of Rajiv Gandhi in Ludhiana was vandalised, and he had done the same. Akali Dal workers had poured black ink on the statue, and Mand had used his turban to clean it after that. Congress workers had also cleaned the statue with milk after the vandalism.