On July 1911, Savarkar was sentenced to two life sentences i.e. 50 years in the cellular jail of Andamans. (Photo Credit: File)
The Narendra Modi government on Tuesday informed Parliament that there is no record of the mercy petitions by VD Savarkar to the British available with the Department of Art and Culture of Andaman and Nicobar. Replying to a question on the display of the petitions to the British by the Hindu nationalist leader at the Cellular Jail Museum in the archipelago union territory, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel said no such record was available with the Andaman and Nicobar administration.
"As per the information received from Andaman & Nicobar (Directorate of Art and Culture), such mercy petitions are not displayed at Cellular Jail since no record is available with the Department of Art and Culture, Andaman & Nicobar Administration," he said.
The statement from the Central government has come at a time when demand to confer the Hindutva leader with a Bharat Ratna is being pushed by the BJP-led NDA government. The ruling BJP is in favour of giving Sarvarkar, a controversial Hindutva leader, Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
During the last year's Maharashtra Assembly elections, the BJP had demanded the Bharat Ratna honour for Savarkar, one of the tallest Hindutva leaders of the Sangh Parivar, and included the it in its manifesto for the October 21 Assembly elections.
The manifesto says the BJP will ask the NDA government at the Centre to confer India's highest civilian award on Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, popularly known as Veer Savarkar. However, BJP's demand of Bharat Ratna for Savarkar met with severe criticism from the Opposition parties.
The Opposition parties said that the individual in question was once accused in the murder of Father of the Nation Mahtma Gandhi. Savarkar was charged as a co-conspirator in the murder of Mahatma Gandhi but was later acquitted by the court for lack of evidence.