Bhopal/Gwalior: On a day the nation observed Mahatma Gandhi's death anniversary, the Hindu Mahasabha on Sunday bestowed 'Godse-Apte Bharat Ratna' in Gwalior upon jailed religious leader Kalicharan Maharaj, who was arrested last December for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the Mahatma Gandhi during a Dharma Sansad held in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur.
The right-wing organisation also awarded the same award to four leaders of the Mahasabha and paid tribute to his assassin Nathuram Godse and a co-accused in the Gandhi murder trial, Narayan Apte, in Madhya Pradesh's Gwalior by observing "Godse-Apte Smriti Diwas".
"We performed 'aarti' of Bharat Mata with a resolve to integrate India with Pakistan to make it 'Akhand Bharat'. We are observing January 30 as the 'Godse Apte Smriti Diwas' day to express our anger over their arrest on January 30, 1948", PTI quoted Hindu Mahasabha's national vice president Jaiveer Bharadwaj as saying
The country on Sunday paid tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 74th death anniversary.
Bharadwaj said the Mahasabha has honoured Kalicharan Maharaj and four leaders of Hindu Mahasabha with the 'Godse-Apte Bharat Ratna' in Gwalior.
"Since Kalicharan Maharaj is in jail, the honour was received by Pramod Lohpatre on his behalf," Bharadwaj said.
He blamed Mahatma Gandhi for the partition of India in 1947, which he said led to the killing and displacement of lakhs of Hindus.
Talking to reporters after attending the programme in Mahasabha's office in the Daulatganj area of Gwalior, Bharadwaj claimed the Hindu Mahasabha had made a huge contribution to the freedom struggle.
"People should not be misled into believing that India got independence due to charkha (spinning wheel popularised by Mahatma Gandhi)", he said.
Bharadwaj alleged that Congress and BJP didn't inform the people about the sacrifice made by seers and "seven lakh people who lost their lives during the freedom struggle".
Mahasabha pays tribute and respects all the revolutionaries, he added.
In Uttar Pradesh's Meerut, the Hindu Mahasabha raised questions on Mahatma Gandhi being the Father of the Nation and refused to acknowledge his contributions. The organisation, however, remembered Godse.
State spokesperson Abhishek Agarwal said that on this occasion some people have been given the Godse-Apte Bharat Ratna.
Last November, the Hindu Mahasabha had said it will sculpt a statue of Nathuram Godse using the soil brought from Haryana's Ambala Central Jail, where he was hanged to death in 1949.
In November 2017, Gwalior district authorities had confiscated Godse's bust foiling the right-wing outfit's attempt to turn its office into a 'temple' of Godse.
When asked about the Mahasabha honouring Kalicharan and others with 'Godse Apte Bharat Ratna', Madhya Pradesh BJP president VD Sharma said that it was the incumbent BJP government at the Centre which has taken Mahatma Gandhi's work to the people.
"There is a process of providing 'Bharat Ratna' (the highest civilian honour in India) by the Centre. It can't be given to anybody standing on the road," he said, adding that there is freedom of expression in the country.
On January 19, Thane Police in Maharashtra arrested Kalicharan from Chhattisgarh in connection with a case registered against him in Thane for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Mahatma Gandhi