It’s been almost three weeks since Balasaheb Thackeray was cremated, but the state is yet to give a clear, unambiguous answer about what it plans to do with the makeshift memorial standing at the historic Shivaji Park.
As of yet, neither the Congress-led state government, nor the BMC under the Shiv Sena-BJP combine has taken a definitive stance on the issue. While the Shiv Sena leadership is maintaining a discreet silence on the matter, it is letting its cadres take on the task of ‘protecting’ the spot where Thackeray was cremated. Perhaps keeping in mind the kind of reverence that the late Sena chief inspired in his lifetime and in the wake of his death, no party is willing to take a stand on the issue, lest feathers are ruffled yet again.
But one must not forget that Shivaji Park is hallowed territory, having hosted landmark events in the history of our state — agitations for Samyukta Maharashtra, Thackeray’s fiery oratory, and addresses from many other stalwarts from the social and political fields who built our nation and state.
No wonder then that the volatile situation at Shivaji Park is particularly discomfiting to citizens for whom the grounds are a symbol of the state’s history and stability.
An atmosphere of peace should be restored at the park as soon as possible, as the vigil by Shiv Sainiks in shifts is unsettling for those who visit the park — for their walks, for cricket practice, for a quiet stroll.
One wonders about the terms and conditions under which the party was allowed to conduct the funereal rites at Shivaji Park.
The city and its residents deserve an early resolution brought about without the threat of violence or needless arrests. We’re talking about an iconic city landmark, after all.