Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe visited the Sabarmati Ashram on Wednesday following the latter’s arrival in Ahmedabad from Tokyo, an aware citizen has created a major ripple by making public photographs showing the main gate the Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram covered by a huge hoarding of Patanjali Yogpith.
Posted on her Facebook page, Mudita Vidrohi commented, “This is how we are going to welcome the PM of Japan Mr. Shinzo Abe, by putting Patanjali Yogpith hoarding which hides even Sabarmati Ashram name plate.”
Interestingly, soon after putting up the Patanjali hoarding at the main entrance of the Gandhi Ashram, the organizers "inserted" the photograph of Baba Ramdev, the owner of Patanjali Yogpith, prominently. Vidrohi told Counterview, “A little away, there was a hoarding of Modi and Abe with Ramdev, which I did not click.”
Releasing yet another photograph, about 50 feet away, she said in a separate Facebook post, “And then you have Brahmakumaris... Other hoardings like Rabari Samaj, Jain Samaj etc are also seen.” Brahmakumaris is a well-known religious sect, headquartered in Mount Abu, the hill station in Rajasthan.
She said, whether we are “trying to show how peacefully we coexist with all different faiths”, wondering, “Do they think the Japan PM and Japan government is really that fool? Also don't they feel shame in fooling them?”
Yet another Facebook post by one Vijay Sambrani, another keen citizen has put up two photographs of an Ahmedabad street, covering the slums with green curtains, Sambrati comments, “Today for Japanese PM Abe's visit. Ahmedabad streets are covered in green cloth to "hide" the slums. When will Authorities wake up and actually beautify their cities?”
Exactly three years ago, on September 17, Modi’s birthday, when Chinese president Xi Jinping was in Ahmedabad, similar green curtains covered up the entire slum area on the banks of Sabarmati and along the road leading to the Sabarmati Ashram, Ahmedabad from the east.
In fact, even the Dandi bridge, from where Mahatma Gandhi began his famous march towards Dandi for his historic 390-kilometres-long Salt Satyagraha in March-April 1930, was covered up with the curtains, as the slums are situated just next to the Dandi bridge.
This time, said an official who accompanied Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister “the route was not next to the Dandi bridge”. He added, “Coming straight from the Airport, he reached Sabarmati Ashram, then took a U-turn to go to the 132 metres wide road towards Vastrapur area, to Hotel Hyatt."
Significantly, no correspondent was allowed to visit Sabarmati Ashram, where Modi and Abe paid their visit at about 4:50 pm.