BMC notice to Shiv Sena: Dismantle cremation structure

Two days ahead of a massive gathering of Dalits at Shivaji Park to observe the death anniversary of B R Ambedkar, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Monday night served a notice to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut and Mayor Sunil Prabhu asking them to immediately dismantle the temporary structure erected on November 18 at the park to perform the last rites of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

The decision came after a petition seeking demolition of the structure was submitted to the Bombay High Court by a little known organisation, Bahujan Lead Union of Educated (BLUE). The BMC, too, had filed a caveat before the court demanding that it be heard before any decision is taken.

"We have served a notice to Sanjay Raut and Sunil Prabhu, who were applicants in the matter to allow a funeral at Shivaji Park. We have directed them to remove the structure immediately or stringent legal action will be taken against them. The structure is illegal and stands in violation of the order which approved the funeral," said Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte.

BLUE's petition was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta on Monday and has been posted for hearing on December 6. When contacted, Prabhu said, "The BMC has filed a caveat in the HC stating that our side should be heard before any decision is taken." The Shiv Sena has majority in the civic body.

Ambedkar's death anniversary falls on December 6 and the civic body and the Mumbai Police are bracing themselves to manage an estimated two-lakh strong gathering at Shivaji Park. The park, which is also the birthplace of Sena, was made the final resting place for the party's patriarch in a first of its kind public cremation carried out in Mumbai post-Independence. The Municipal Commissioner had used his special powers to grant the permission.

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