Ambedkar brothers are 'gundas', want to grab land: Ratnakar Gaikwad to Firstpost
The demolition of Dadar's historic Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Bhavan in the early hours of Saturday morning has turned into a major controversy over the past four days
The demolition of Dadar's historic Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Bhavan in the early hours of Saturday morning has turned into a major controversy over the past four days. Former IAS officer and state information commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad — who is also an advisor to the People’s Improvement Trust (PIT) — has alleged that the Ambedkar’s grandsons are known for their ‘gundagiri’. Here is the interview he gave Firstpost:
Why was the historic Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Bhavan demolished so late at night?
Gaikwad: The society was founded by Dr Ambedkar. The trust said that the building was dilapidated and that the civic body had given an eviction notice before the demolition took place. It is a 72-year-old dilapidated structure. The timing is not important. It was an old dilapidated structure. On that night, a portion of the structure had collapsed after which it was decided to demolished it in the early hours to avoid any incident. The building was dilapidated and the civic body had given an eviction notice before the demolition took place.
After the demolition of the dilapidated structure, what will be built on this land?
Gaikwad: Ambedkar Bhavan has been demolished as it had become dilapidated and the BMC had given notice to the trust under section 354. The construction of a new and grand 17-floor building will begin soon. This will be the central headquarters for weaker sections of society, as desired by Dr Ambedkar. Most of the funding is from the government. The BMC has approved plans for a new building recently. The chief minister performed the bhoomipujan on 14 April and called upon the trust to complete construction within two years.
Why are you apposing Dr Ambedkar's grandson in the PIT Trust?
Gaikwad: Dr Ambedkar was always clear in his mind that his family members could not interred in the property or trust belonging to him. The members of the Ambedkar family were debarred from the trust long ago. According to a 1957 letter, Dr Ambedkar himself wrote to his son Yashwant, ousting him from the trust. He had made it clear that the printing press was public property. So I am doing my job as an advisor to fulfil his wish. They (the grandsons, Prakash, Anandraj and Bhimrao) want to usurp the property and are opposing the development that was Dr Ambedkar's dream.
What is Dr Ambedkar's grandson's interest in the building?
Gaikwad: Dr Ambedkar had taken the plot at Dadar for the central headquarters of the anti-caste movement and not for a printing press. The printing press was in another area and due to some tension there, it was shifted to the Dadar plot. We want to fulfil his dream.
You alleged that the three brothers Prakash, Anandraj and Bhimrao want separate floors for themselves in the new 17-storey building. Could you elaborate on that?
Gaikwad: The PIT, a 17-storey structure with multi-level parking and other facilities will be constructed at the site at the cost of Rs 60 crore. The main opposition to the demolition of the dilapidated building came from Prakash Ambedkar. He wants to be the trustee of the trust and his brothers Anandraj and Bhimrao want separate floors for each of themselves.
The allegation against you is that you have destroyed the legacy of Dr Ambedkar. Would you like to comment?
Gaikwad: I have not destroyed the legacy of the great Dr Ambedkar, but his own grandsons do not deserve it. The Ambedkar brothers (Prakash, Anandraj) are known for ‘gundagiri’. I want to fulfil the wish of Dr Ambedkar that none of his family members would be entitled to the trust. They want to grab the land and I will not tolerate this.
What about the fact that your name appeared on an FIR at Bhoiwada police station for demolishing Ambedkar Bhavan?
Gaikwad: Let them (the Ambedkar brothers) do what they want to do. I am not selfish like them and not scared of them. I am loyal to Ambedkar thoughts and philosophy. The law will take action if I did wrong. I know that they are putting pressure on people to arrange this agitation against me. I have full faith in the police and judiciary.
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