Quran removed from APJ Abdul Kalam's memorial

Chennai, Aug 2: In a shocking news for the fans of APJ Abdul Kalam, Indian officials have allegedly removed a copy of the Bible and the Quran from the new statue of a former president after a complaint by a Hindu nationalist party, according to reports on Tuesday.

The removal of the books has sparked a religious row over a carving depicting a Hindu holy book placed next to the statue of APJ Abdul Kalam at Rameswaram in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Kalam, who as a scientist played a leading role in India’s landmark 1998 nuclear weapons tests, was president from 2002-2007 and a strongly secular figure.

According to a report in a leading agency, the sculpted Hindu Bhagvad Gita book was placed next to the statue before it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week on the second anniversary of Kalam’s death.

Relatives placed the Bible and the Quran next to the Gita in protest. That infuriated the Hindu Makka Katchi nationalist party, which said it made the complaint to police.

“The authorities removed the Bible and the Quran at the site. We are also looking at the complaint filed with us,” police superintendent Om Prakash Meena said.

K Prabhakaran, a member of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, told an English newspaper, “I respect all these books. But keeping them (at the memorial) without permission is wrong. Steps should be taken to see such things are not done again.”

Authorities have since prevented photographers from taking images of the statue.

Memorial officials have yet to respond to queries.