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India's plan to revamp Mahatma Gandhi home meets fierce criticism

Activists warn of 'Gandhi Theme Park' at best or 'second assassination' at worst

A schoolgirl poses next to a statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the job of revamping one of India's most revered pilgrimage sites to his trusted architect.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- A backlash from activists and historians has greeted the Indian government's plan to give a $166 million makeover to Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram in Ahmedabad, in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state Gujarat.

Also known as the Sabarmati Ashram, the 55-acre site on the banks of the Sabarmati River, is one of India's most revered pilgrimage sites. Launched by Gandhi in 1917, it served as his and wife Kasturba's home between 1917 and 1930. Considered the nucleus of India's Independence movement, it was from the property that Gandhi led his famous 384 km Dandi March against British rule in 1930, before the father of the nation was shot to death in 1948.

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