- Outfit leader Puja Shakun Pandey shot Gandhi's effigy amid cheers.
- Hindu Mahasabha regards the day as Shaurya Divas in honour of Godse.
- Nathuram Godse was sentenced to death on November 8, 1949.
Even as the nation marked the 71st death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a right-wing group shockingly re-enacted his assassination in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh today. The Hindu Mahasabha -- of which the assassin, Nathuram Godse, was once a member -- also garlanded his statue and distributed sweets to hail what they claimed was a watershed moment in Indian history.
A video that has gone viral on social shows Hindu Mahasabha national secretary Puja Shakun Pandey shoot the effigy of Mahatma Gandhi amid cheers. She later told reporters that her organisation has started a new tradition by recreating the assassination, and it will now be practised in a manner similar to the immolation of demon king Ravana on Dussehra.
The Hindu Mahasabha regards the day of Mahatma Gandhi's death as Shaurya Divas (Bravery Day), in honour of Nathuram Godse. The right-wing activist was one of the early members of the organisation, founded by Madan Mohan Malaviya way back in 1915.
Nathuram Godse was sentenced to death on November 8, 1949. Mahatma Gandhi's sons Manilal and Ramdas pleaded that his punishment be commuted, but the Jawaharlal Nehru-led government refused to relent. He was hanged at Ambala Jail on November 15 the same year.
This is not the first time the Hindu Mahasabha has tried to glorify Nathuram Godse while trying to denigrate the celebrated freedom fighter. In 2015, outfit leader Swami Pranavananda had announced plans to install statues of Nathuram Godse across six districts of Karnataka. He also described the assassin as a "patriot" who had worked with the blessings of Hindu nationalist Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi had earlier termed Mahatma Gandhi's assassination as independent India's "first terror attack" at the hands of a religious extremist. He also squarely blamed the incident on Savarkar, a right-wing personality who is said to have inspired Hindutva-based politics in the country.
"Today is the date of independent India's first terror attack by Nathuram Godse, whose guru was Savarkar. Both were found guilty of Gandhiji's murder by the Justice Jivanlal Kapoor Commission. India's independence was hard fought, and it must be preserved from Savarkar's heirs," Mr Owaisi said. He was referring to the Hindu Mahasabha as well as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, to which the ruling BJP is affiliated.
The nation marked the 71st death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on Wednesday. He was shot dead at the Birla House in New Delhi during his evening prayers.
(With inputs from Agencies)