Police foil attempt to hoist Tricolour at Jinnah Tower in Guntur
Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), Jan 26 : Tension prevailed at Jinnah Tower here in Andhra Pradesh as some members of a right-wing group tried to hoist the National Flag at the landmark named after Pakistan's founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Police detained activists of Hindu Vahini when they attempted to hoist the national flag at Jinnah Tower on the occasion of 73rd Republic Day.
Raising slogans of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' the protesters tried to advance towards the tower but were stopped by the police.
Policemen were seen detaining the activists and shifting them to police vehicles. The arrested men were whisked away.
Right-wing groups are demanding a change in the name of Jinnah Tower.
BJP's Andhra Pradesh chief Somu Veerraju had last month demanded a change in the name.
Stating that Jinnah was the cause of India's division, he demanded that the state government change the name of the tower.
In view of the demands, the authorities erected a metal fence around the structure. Guntur Mayor Kavati Manohar Naidu on Monday inspected the fence.
The mayor ruled out renaming the tower and recalled that Guntur Municipal Corporation had rejected a resolution back in 1966 that the tower be renamed as 'Hamid Minar'.
"Jinnah Tower is an enduring symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity and no force can disrupt the secular traditions of Guntur town," he said.
Guntur West MLA M. Giridhar Rao also slammed BJP for raking up the issue to create communal disharmony.
He pointed out that Guntur is the only place in the country which has a tower built in the memory of Muhammad Ali Jinnah on a road named after Mahatma Gandhi.
Jinnah Tower in Guntur is a key landmark on the busy road of the city. Despite wars and conflicts between India and Pakistan, the tower stood as a symbol of peace and harmony.
The tower, built in honour of Jinnah in the pre-independence era, is standing tall on six pillars and opens to a dome. This tower is considered the symbol of Islamic architecture.
According to historians, the tower was built by a local Muslim leader Lal Jan Basha after the visit of Jinnah's representative Judaliyaquat Ali Khan to Guntur.
Heritage activists in the past raised concern over parts of the tower crumbling due to negligence by authorities. They had called for protecting the edifice.