Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Sunday said the upcoming Bandra-Versova sea link in the western part of Mumbai will be named after Hindutva ideologue late VD Savarkar, while a state-level gallantry award on the lines of the one given by the Centre will also be named after him.
Speaking in New Delhi on the birth anniversary of Savarkar, the CM said some people were deliberately maligning the former for their selfish gains and out of fright that they will have to shut shop if his thoughts become popular in society.
It was the first time Savarkar's birth anniversary was being celebrated in the state government-constructed Maharashtra Sadan there, he added.
"The critics of Savarkar know if his thoughts become popular in society, they will have to shut shop. Imagine how terrified they are that they oppose Savarkar even after 57 years of his death," he said.
"There have been deliberate and consistent attempts to malign the image of Savarkar by some for their selfish gains. It is unfortunate even after 57 years of his death, some people fail to understand him. It angers me to see some people deliberately try to malign his image," Shinde said.
Savarkar, who was born in Nashik district on May 28, 1883, died on February 26, 1966.
"The upcoming Bandra-Versova sealink will be named after Swatantryaveer Savarkar. On the lines of the Union government's gallantry awards, the Maharashtra government will also set up Swatantryaveer Savarkar gallantry awards," Shinde said.
Praising the move, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis thanked Shinde and said he had made such a request in a letter sent to the latter on March 16 this year.
"This will ensure Savarkar's name and work remain etched in the memory of people," Fadnavis said.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra governor Ramesh Bais inaugurated an exhibition on the life of Savarkar and hailed the latter for opposing caste-based discrimination and terming untouchability as a blot on the country. "Savarkar was a great orator, writer and historian. He did not lose his morale despite the hardships in Cellular Jail. However, historians did not do justice to him. This needs to be corrected now," Bais said.
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