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Agra: Fear of Bajrang Dal forces civic bodies to remove colonial-era statues

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Agra, Nov 18: In an attempt to erase the every single trace of colonial rule in Agra, Bajrang Dal has reportedly forced the civic authorities to remove three of the century-old Queen Victoria statues from city's Paliwal Park.

Following constant protest and pressure from the right wing Hindu group the administration has quietly moved the century-old statues to the backyard of the Agra Municipal Corporation's John's Public Library.

Bajrang Dal removes colonial-era statues
As per a TOI report, Bajrang Dal leaders had sent out a memorandum on November 7 demanding that the statues, a relic of our colonial past, be removed within 72 hours. On November 10, the statues were removed to a more innocuous part of the city.

Bajrang Dal state co-convener Ajju Chauhan was quoted by the news daily as saying, "Paliwal Park is the heart of Agra. The Bajrang Dal is absolutely against having any sign of colonialism here. We are against such signs anywhere in the country. I am surprised that a huge amount of money is wasted in the maintenance of these statues and the library, which only serve as reminders of slavery."

As per Chauhan, his next task is to get the name of John's Public Library changed and rename it after renowned Hindi author Ram Vilas Sharma. Sharma was bestowed with several prestigious awards for his contribution towards Hindi language but he never accepted them saying he doesn't needs honours for he is doing his service towards the language.

The three colonial era statues, each between 10 and 12 feet tall, were carved in an alloy of 10 metals, including gold. But the statues have lost their shine for remaining out in open for so long.

Dal has been involved in practices of renaming colonial era buildings or forcing the authorities to get rid of colonial heritage.

Renaming of colonial era buildings is very popular in the states like UP, Maharashtra. Earlier, the colonial era Kings George Medical College in Lucknow was renamed to Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University while Mumbai's Victoria Terminus was rechristened to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. Even, Bombay's name was changed to Mumbai for the city was called so by British regime.

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