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Memorial melodrama

The encroachment of the Indu Mills in Dadar by followers of Dr BR Ambedkar has laid bare the impotency of the Centre and the State to maintain the rule of law. 

The followers have been camping on the premises, in a screeching protest to demand the entire mill land to erect a memorial of Dr Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution. The glaring unconstitutionality of the possession is lost on the so-called followers, who have been criticised by the Bombay High Court for the utter disregard they exhibited for the constitutional way and for the consequences of their actions. 

The court also minced no words in pulling up the Congress-led government. The fact that nothing concrete has emerged for years despite the state government's promise to develop the memorial has rendered its pledge hollow. The incumbent rulers have long claimed the backing of Ambedkar followers, and it beats one to answer why they haven't been able to persuade the UPA government for allotting the land. 

Also, the state failed to gauge the mood of Dalit organisations that caught it unawares with the takeover, indicating its poor intelligence gathering capabilities. The all-round inefficacy shown in dealing with the issue has reduced it to a political contest of claiming credit for the memorial. After Anandraj Ambedkar led the forcible occupation, Ramdas Athawale-led RPI made considerable efforts to steal the thunder and turn it into its politico-ideological war.

Meanwhile, the court's rap to the Cong-NCP government has been like water off a duck's back. Instead of heeding the HC's comments, the ruling parties pandered to the Dalit vote bank and approved a resolution  for allotting the land. As the court noted, the Indu Mills episode may set a precedent for similar events in the future. 

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