MILIND GHATWAI , Indian Express online: Monday, February 27, 2006 at 0102 hours IST
BHOPAL, FEBRUARY 26: Arjun Pal’s name rings few bells in Madhya Pradesh, but his death in a communal fray was enough for the Sangh Parivar to put him on par with the likes of Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose.
Two years after he was allegedly shot dead by Christians in Jhabua, Pal features in a poster titled ‘Bharat Mata Ke Shahid Saput’ (The Martyred Sons of Mother India). Bhabra, where he was born, will even see a statue of its shahid saput, if things go according to plan.
‘‘He is a martyr who gave his life for the cause of Hindutva,’’ asserts BJP MLA from Jhabua, Kal Singh.
Pal was killed on January 16, 2004, a few days after tension between Hindus and Christians rose following rumours that a Christian was behind the rape and murder of a nine-year-old girl. A Hindu was later found to be responsible for the crime, but that did not help improve matters. While 14 Christians are in jail in connection with Pal’s death, relations between the two communities are far from good.
The poster was first displayed on Pal’s second death anniversary in Jhabua and again during the recent Shabari Kumbh in the Dangs district of Gujarat. It was also on display in Indore.