At former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial in Rameswaram before its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week, a sacred book stand with words "Bhagavad Gita" engraved which mysteriously appeared by the statue, which has triggered a controversy. Opposition MDMK of Tamil Nadu’s has alleged that it is a "sinister move by the BJP government".
Dr Kalam was “above any religion” underscoring that, from his family a member who did not want to be named, said they were foxed by the sudden appearance of the engraving at the foot of Dr Kalam's statue. "On the day of the dedication only, before the Prime Minister arrived it was quietly place. It was a surprise," he said.
Respect and quoted from all religions was loved by Dr Kalam, Chief Vaiko of MDMK said. He added, "People who would visit the memorial all over the world, shouldn't mistake that he loved only the Gita."
A classic Tamil literary text replace the Gita, he insisted that Thirukurazh. Often couplets were quoted by Dr Kalamduring his speeches. Address to the Greek Parliament he quoted there as well. He said, "It will be a fitting tribute if Thirukurazh is placed there instead. It's universally acceptable."
Grand Nephew Sheikh Salim of Dr Kalma, placed a copied of Quran and Bible in this morning which belongs to the former President next to the Gita. But by a fringe Hindu group the two texts had to be removed following protests.
Officials of the defence research organization DRDO, which was in charge of building the memorial, said they were helpless. "We built everything according to the plan given to us. We've no say in this," the official said.
Even though the former President's Quran and a Bible were placed near the Gita confirming that, "we have moved them back to the box they were in. Now only the Gita is near the statue of him playing Veena," the official said.
State Finance Minister D Jayakumar said "We would take up this issue with the centre if required".
The DRDO had a long association with Dr Kalam, who was fondly referred to as India's Missile Man.
On Thursday, by PM Modi a Rs. 20-crore monument was nnaugurated - was expedited after a huge public outcry following media reports that dogs were seen littering the area where the People's President lay buried.
The memorial has an entrance that resembles Delhi's India Gate, a dome that reminds one of the Rashtrapati Bhavan and a replica of the doors of the Tanjore temple. During its construction, various materials, including sand, stones and water were brought from various parts of the country to make it a symbol of national integration.