Mahatma Gandhi Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Bhopal - As India celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a portion of his ashes kept at Bapu Bhawan in Madhya Pradesh's Rewa were stolen, police said on Thursday.

The suspects also wrote "anti-national" on the picture of the Mahatma that was put up on a hoarding-like structure inside the Bhawan.

Rewa district Congress chief Gurmeet Singh spotted the mischief when he reached Laxman Bagh, which houses the Bapu Bhawan, to pay tributes. He lodged a formal complaint with the police and Congress workers staged a protest seeking identification and action.

Rewa's Superintendent of Police Abid Khan confirmed that a case under Sections 153B, 504 and 505 of the Indian Penal Code has been registered against unidentified suspects.

"We received the complaint from Gurmeet Singh and an FIR has been lodged. We are trying to identify the culprits and CCTV footage of Bapu Bhawan and nearby areas is being scanned," he said.

Residents of the area are in a state of shock and at a loss of words on how the suspects could enter Bapu Bhawan and vandalise the photo without being noticed.

Also expressing his shock at the development, the Mahatma's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi, in a statement, said: "Just heard the news that someone/people stole the funeral ashes of my great grandfather kept in a shrine at Gandhi Bhavan in Rewa Madhya Pradesh. They also defaced his photo by spraying the word 'Traitor'. Wish he wasn't the father of the nation, wish he wasn't Mahatma. Wish he was only my great grandfather."

IANS