India unveils tallest statue in world amid protests


By Ahmad Adil

CHANDIGARH, India (AA) – India on Wednesday unveiled the tallest statue in the world depicting one of its independence leaders amid criticism over the whopping budget spent on it.

The statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at a height of 182 meters is twice the size of Statue of Liberty in New York.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Statue of Unity in Gujarat state, calling Patel the man who led the path for India.

“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had said infighting was the reason for India's subordination by foreign powers; never again will India make the same mistake and never will India again be enslaved,” Modi said, according to local media reports.

The statue at a cost of over $400 million has been criticized for destroying the environment and displacing locals who were not compensated for land taken from them.

The chiefs of 22 local villages signed a letter calling on Modi to stay away from the function.

According to news reports, before the inauguration police detained dozens of activists to ensure a protest free event.

India is also working on a giant statue of 17th-century king Chhatrapati Shivaji, who will be seen riding a horse and brandishing a sword in Mumbai. The statue is touted to be the tallest in the world at 212 metres.