Sena softens samadhi stance, BMC goes site-seeing in park

After a Shiv Sena clarification that it would not object to shifting the makeshift memorial to Bal Thackeray in Shivaji Park a few feet away from the cremation spot to free up the active area of the ground, senior officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) yesterday launched a search for a new, non-controversial spot on the premises with a clear title.

Bal Thackeray's cremation spot
Staying put: The makeshift memorial marking Bal Thackeray’s cremation spot continues to stay where it is. Hundreds of supporters still converge to pay their respects to their leader. File pic

According to a senior BMC official, Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte called a meeting and directed the civic staff to identify a spot for the transfer of the makeshift memorial.

“The new place should have a clear title and we will be checking to make sure it has not been leased out to someone,” an official said on the condition of anonymity. Kunte declined to comment on the issue.

Expressing his views on the makeshift memorial for the first time since his father’s death, Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray said in party mouthpiece Saamna that he was “confident” party workers would agree to the removal of the structure from the place where their supremo was cremated in the middle of the ground and the relocation of the memorial to a spot towards the edge of the ground.

In the article in Saamna, Uddhav indicated that the structure could be shifted “a few feet away” from the place where it stands today, but stated that the new spot would still have to be inside the ground.

“The Sena supremo’s samadhi will remain inside Shivaji Park, from where he inspired Maharashtra and Hindus,” Uddhav said.

Vehicle damage issue
On Monday, the BMC had made all arrangements to remove the makeshift structure in Shivaji Park, but the plan was leaked and subsequently a group of people attacked BMC vehicles. Nine vehicles were damaged, following which civic officials registered an FIR at the Worli police station.

It is learnt that the five people arrested in the case are Shiv Sena workers.

The civic chief said the persons who caused the damage would have to make good the loss suffered by the BMC.

“Some nine vehicles were damaged in the attack and the loss is estimated to be between Rs 80,000 and Rs 1 lakh,” Kunte said.

“It will be recovered from the persons responsible for the damage.” 

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