India: Houses on an entire block painted saffron, in UP
India: Houses on an entire block painted saffron, in UP Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: A leader of the Indian political party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing social media ire after he got an entire block of houses painted saffron, in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahadurganj area, without the permission of some residents. Two residents have lodged a First Information Report (FIR) against Nand Gopal Gupta, the UP cabinet minister of Civil Aviation, according to Indian news reports.

Along with the change in colour of the buildings, some houses and shops had pictures of Hindu deities painted on them.

According to reports, this did not go down well with two residents of the area, and they lodged a complaint with the police. They stated that a person close to the government forcibly got their houses painted saffron.

Reportedly, Kotwali police station in-charge, Jaichand Kumar Sharma, said that two Bhadurganj residents lodged complaints accusing some people, purportedly close to a state minister, of getting their houses painted saffron without their consent, and assaulting them on objecting to it.

One of the complainants, Jeevan Chand said that around 15 to 20 men, sent by the minister, got his house painted without his permission, and assaulted him and verbally abused his wife upon expressing objection.

According to Indian news agency Press trust of India (PTI), the other complainant Ravi Gupta, a retired official, said that some unidentified people started painting his houses saffron, and continued to do so, after ignoring his protests.

The police are probing into the two complaints.

Apparently, according to some news reports, the minister has justified it as "development work" and said the controversy is "needless."

He said: “There are some people who do not like development and beautification drive that I have started. Some of the houses have idols … painted on them and the non-believers are objecting.”

Many took to Twitter to point out the absurdity of the situation, and said it was unacceptable to paint people’s houses without their permission.

Tweep @SiddhantNag posted: “Ridiculous 'beautification drive' in #Prayagraj by UP Cabinet Minister - all houses on street, spray painted saffron without taking residents consent. That's their personal property, not your political playground @NandiGuptaBJP. Please take action @CMOfficeUP…”

And, tweep @Ghazala2402 added: “Jungle Raj in UP… #Bahadurganj area is a marketing hub in Prayagraj, like Chandni Chawk in Delhi, forced saffronisation is scary, illegal and cruel.”