Shiv Sena removes Bal Thackeray's temporary memorial at Shivaji Park

The deadlock over removing Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s makeshift memorial from Shivaji Park finally ended  after Sena vacated Shivaji Park. The operation was carried out peacefully amid tight security in the presence of a few top party leaders, including city Mayor Sunil Prabhu, Subhash Desai and Rahul Shewale.

Shiv Sena plans to put a proposal in front of the civic body seeking a new plot to make a memorial for Bal Thackeray. The proposal is likely to be presented before the BMC after consultation with top party leaders, scheduled on Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting will be held in the BMC head quarter, which will be attended by Municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte. Mayor Sunil Prabhu confirmed about the group leaders meeting.

Makeshift memoria of  Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray
Pic/Datta Kumbhar

On Tuesday night, Sena covered the makeshift with curtains and started preparations to remove the structure. The entire operation was carried out peacefully at the dead of the night though a group of Shiv Sainiks were assembled outside the 28-acre Shivaji Park precincts.

Earlier, Shiv Sena failed to shift the memorial on Monday by own deadline.

Interestingly, Sena wanted a smaller space in Shivaji Park but  the party did not even put up a proposal before the civic body , which could also be one of the reasons why the Sena was reluctant to remove the make shift structure on Monday.

The party had earlier planned to transfer Bal Thackeray’s makeshift memorial near Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue. Also, to avoid coastal regulation zone restrictions, it was decided that makeshift would be made with soil and plague. The BMC administration however rejected this plan.

The late Thackeray, who died Nov 17, was accorded a state public funeral at Shivaji Park ground in south Mumbai.
However, after the cremation, the Shiv Sena was reluctant to vacate the premises and had demanded a memorial for the late leader at the spot.
Later, the cremation site was virtually 'converted' into a pilgrimage site with an 'eternal flame', maintaining round-the-clock vigil. 
Tourists and students thronging the place daily to pay homage to the departed leader even as the authorities grappled with the sensitive issue.
Finally, last week, after a meeting with Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, party executive president Uddhav Thackeray softened his stance on the issue and said that the cremation site would remain at Shivaji Park, but at a new location
(With inputs from agencies)

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