A controversy has erupted over removal of a bust of Chhatrapati Shivaji by local administration using a JCB machine in Sausar town in Madhya Pradesh's Chhindwara district, with the BJP accusing the ruling Congress of "insulting" the "pride of the nation" with the act.
The bust, which was placed on a platform at Mohgaon Square intersection without any permission, was removed on Monday night, a senior district official said on Wednesday.
The bust was put by some local saffron organisations.
The removal of the bust triggered protests on Tuesday with some residents of Sausar, located around 56 kms from Chhindwara, trying to block portion of Chhindwara-Nagpur national highway demanding re-installation of the bust.
"The bust was removed as it was placed at the Mohgaon chauraha (square) without any permission," said Sausar Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Omprakash Sanodia.
Following the incident, the opposition BJP demanded apology from Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who hails from Chhindwara district.
The opposition party also demanded Shiv Sena's reply on the issue.
Senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted the video of the bust being removed with a JCB machine.
"Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj is the pride of the nation, the source of inspiration for the country. His humiliation will not be tolerated at any cost. If there was any objection, his statue could have been removed in a respectful manner. But this government takes pride in insulting great men," Chouhan tweeted.
He also demanded apology of the CM.
"The Shiv Sena-led government in Maharashtra which also includes the Congress considers Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as an ideal. Will they (Shiv Sena) tolerate such insult to him (Shivaji)?" Chouhan questioned.
However, state Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi accused the BJP of raising an unwarranted hue and cry over the incident.
"Shivaji Maharaj is also reverred by the Congress. In Sausar, the JCB machine was used because the platform on which the bust was placed was very strong. The bust was put up haphazardly," Chaturvedi said in Bhopal.
He said the bust would be put up "respectfully" in an "organised manner" so that its position doesn't affect vehicular traffic.
A local Shiv Sena leader said Sausar residents have been demanding installation of Chhatrapati Shivaji's bust at Mohgaon square since the last several years.
"As per their demand, some saffron organisations installed the bust on Monday, but the administration removed it. This action of the administration has hurt the sentiments of people," he said.
Local Congress MLA Vijay Choure said that Sausar municipality on Tuesday approved a proposal to re-install the bust at the same intersection.
Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Shashank Garg said the situation is peaceful in the town.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)