Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 18:57 UK

Gandhi statue is unveiled in city

Gandhi statue
The statue of Gandhi was unveiled in Leicester.

A statue of Mahatma Gandhi has been unveiled by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson in Leicester.

People in the city were offered the statue of Gandhi with funding from a charity which backed the scheme.

But the scheme to put the statue close to the Belgrave flyover had prompted some residents to object, saying it is too close to a major road.

The 7ft tall statue was cast in India and flown to England before being placed on a 5ft plinth.

Some local residents had object to the statue being placed at the site, but the council granted permission on April 2008.

The council said there were no problems with traffic and it was the right site.

The statue is situated on the city centre end of the Belgrave Road, the heart of Leicester's Asian business community.

Facebook debate

Jitu Achary of Samanvaya Parivar had said: "We felt it appropriate, especially in the city of Leicester, where there is a vibrant multicultural society, to have a statue of Gandhi to actually symbolise his philosophy."

He added there had been support for the application from all over the world, from places such as Australia, New Zealand, India and the US.

The move prompted a debate on the Facebook website, with two petitions - one for and one against - on the Downing Street website.

The council received 17 objections, but also petitions with 800 signatures in support.

Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in 1948.

Today he is widely revered as India's moral conscience.

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