Remove statues from roads, HC tells MP govt

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court has ordered the removal of a statue of Arjun Singh, the late Congress Chief Minister, from a trijunction in Bhopal — along with all other statues at roads that have been erected in the state since January 18, 2013.

In its order on Thursday, the Bench of Justices Sheel Nagu and Purushaindra Kumar Kaurav imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on four government agencies and also prohibited the erection of any more statues at roads and other such places across the state.

The petition — filed in 2019 by Jabalpur-based advocate Greesham Jain — had argued that the 10-foot statue of Singh had come up in place of a statue of freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad — which had been removed for hindering the flow of traffic.

The court directed the Bhopal Municipal Corporation to remove Singh’s statue from the Nanke petrol pump tri-section.

The order stated: “The state is directed by a writ of mandamus to remove all statues erected on public roads, pavements, sideways and any other public utility place at any village, town or city situated within MP, which had been erected on or after 18.01.2013.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Grisham Jain welcomed the court’s verdict and said: “My only contention is that while the statue of Chandra Shekar Azad was removed as it was obstructing traffic, how is that former Singh’s statue was not obstructing the traffic.” The cost of Rs 30,000 is to be paid in equal proportion by four respondents, including the state of Madhya Pradesh through the Chief Secretary and others.

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