Laid to rest at ground that marked his rise

Bal Thackeray

Central Mumbai's Shivaji Park which gave birth to Shiv Sena was the final resting place for the party's patriarch Bal Thackeray, in a first of its kind public cremation carried out in Mumbai post-Independence. The Mumbai municipal commissioner used his special powers to grant the permission.

Ever since the ground was declared a 'silence zone' three years ago, the Sena has had to approach the Bombay High Court for permission to hold the annual Dussehra rally. The party had to promise to abide by the noise pollution rules, but year after year, breached the same.

Till late on Saturday night, state government and civic officials had refused to confirm if any special permission had been granted for performing the rituals at Shivaji Park even as an urgent meeting was convened at the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation headquarters later in the evening to discuss the matter.

On Sunday, Additional Municipal Commissioner Mohan Adtani clarified that the permission for the funeral at the ground had been granted under special powers of the municipal commissioner.

"If the body has to be cremated at any other place than the places registered with the municipal corporation, the municipal commissioner can grant such approval under a special act of the municipality. Along with the state government, the municipal commissioner granted the permission for the funeral at Shivaji Park after taking into account the unprecedented crowd which was expected to turn up. The authorities had to also look at the security aspects and that such huge crowds could not have been accommodated in a safe manner in a small crematorium," said Adtani.

While filling the ground to its capacity over two lakh has long been considered the biggest show of strength for any political leader and party in the state, Thackeray never had trouble on that account. Sunday was no exception

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