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Emotional Advani renames airport after Vir Savarkar

Emotional Advani renames airport after Vir Savarkar

Author: Ajay Suri
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: May 5, 2002

Not much is seen into renaming of an airport. However, Union Home Minister L K Advani touched an emotional chord today while renaming the Port Blair Airport here to Veer Savarkar Airport - after the freedom fighter who, he said, was ignored by the ruling dynasty.

Beside lashing out at the Congress for "neglecting" greats like Savarkar and Subhas Chandra Bose, Advani also slammed political parties for giving a convoluted twist to the concept and meaning of "Hindutvata". Referring to a Supreme Court ruling, he said the same parties who vouch for a court order forget that "Hindutvata is not synonymous with creed or religion."

The event was not an ordinary one. Specially called for the occasion were Savarkar's son Vishawas Savarkar and other family members of the man who spent 10 years in Andamans' Cellular Jail here. Sudhir Phadke, the music director who recently brought Savarkar to life on celluloid was also invited, and one could spot tears trickling down Advani's cheeks when he embraced Phadke.

Savarkar's contribution to the nation's freedom, Advani said, was as great as that of Bhagat Singh, Ashfatullah Khan and Chandrashekhar Azad, with each one of them contributing in their own way.

All true patriots and lovers of India, Advani held, should consider Andaman's Cellular Jail as their "tirthsthan and visit the place as often as they can."

Also present during the renaming ceremony were Civil Aviation Minister Shanawaz Hussain, Minister of State for Home Vidya Sagar Rao and the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman & Nicobar N N Jha. Hussain said the decision to rename the airport was take unanimously by the Union Cabinet.

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