The Shropshire Council has voted to keep the “racist” statue of Robert Clive, also known as "Clive of India", in the Shrewsbury town centre in western England. Clive is known for his role in establishing Britain's colonial domination over India in the early years of the Raj.
The council had been deliberating on the issue, which follows the removal of various racist statues across the US and the UK in the last couple of months as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The council discussed whether the removal of the statue was in line with its constitution after two petitions for the removal of the statue attracted over 23,000 signatures.
Countering these petitions was a counter-petition to save the statue, which garnered 8000 signatures.
In a vote held this week, 28 councillors chose to take no action on the statue, while 17 voted in favour of action.
Local authority's Conservative Party leader Peter Nutting said the statue should stay in Clive's birthplace and argued that there was also a statue of him in Kolkata.
"As the leader of Shropshire Council and following careful consideration of arguments for and against its removal, I now believe that the statue of Robert Clive in the Square in Shrewsbury should remain in place," Councillor Nutting told the Shropshire Star.
"Clive is clearly a notable figure in Shrewsbury's and Shropshire's history. Therefore I don't wish to be seen to be erasing him from the history books, but I do think there's a good case for educating people about his life and enabling them to form their own opinions about his deeds or misdeeds," he said.
Clive served as the Governor of Bengal under the East India Company in the 18th century. The petitions against his statue highlight his role in the "looting" of Bengal in the early days of the British Empire.
There is a similar life-size statue of Clive near the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) building on King Charles Street, Whitehall, in central London. A petition for the removal of the Whitehall statue has been started by Indian-origin Londoner Ameya Tripathi. It has got over 85,000 signatures on Change.Org and the group is now pushing for a debate by the local Westminster Council by the end of this month.