The Brihan Mumbai Corporation has sent a notice to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Mayor Sunil Prabhu asking them to immediately dismantle the temporary structure built at the Shivaji Park where party founder Bal Thackeray‘s cremation took place.
A senior BMC official told Times Of India that if the two Sena leaders did not heed the notice, the BMC would not only remove the structure and initiate legal proceedings against them, it would also not hesitate to disqualify Prabhu. The ultimatum also says that if they don’t remove the structure within 24 hours, they will face consequences.
BMC says that the permission to use the ground was given only for the cremation and that it should be restored to its original status, as it is a reserved plot as per the city development plan.
According to an Indian Express report, the decision came after a petition seeking demolition of the structure was submitted to the Bombay High Court by an organisation, Bahujan Lead Union of Educated (BLUE).
Meanwhile, Mayor Sunil Prabhu has told CNN-IBN that he hasn’t received any notice so far.
Earlier, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray had said that the controversy over the Bal Thackeray memorial was unnecessary. Uddhav in an interview to Sena’s paper Saamna said that the Sena will continue fighting for ‘Marathi Manoos’ and ‘Hindutvavaad’.
However, his party members were of a different opinion. On Monday, Sanjay Raut had said that the Sena would not give up the samadhi space at Shivaji Park under any circumstances. He said that the small edifice where Bal Thackeray’s funeral pyre was lit on 18 November was as sacred to Shiv Sainiks as Lord Rama’s temple in Ayodhya. Times of India quoted Raut as saying, “…The government should not touch the samadhi space at Shivaji Park .”
Shiv Sena party workers have been demanding a memorial at Shivaji Park but the Maharashtra government is yet to respond to it. Opposing the demand, the state Congress on Saturday said no “other” memorial should come up at the sprawling ground in central Mumbai. “Shivaji Maharaj is a god for people of Maharashtra. His memorial is already there at Shivaji Park,” MPCC chief Manikrao Thakre said.