Lakhs throng Chaityabhoomi on Ambedkar Mahaparinirvan Diwas
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'Jai Bhim' resounds in city amid security on Indu Mill land, tighter cordon around makeshift Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park.
Dadar echoed with chants of 'Jai Bhim' on Thursday as people wound their way from the railway station to Chaityabhoomi, the final resting place of Dr B R Ambedkar. Swatantra Veer Sawarkar Marg was closed between Siddhivinayak Temple and Hinduja College and traffic was rerouted through Prabhadevi. "An estimated 7 lakh visited Shivaji Park and Chaityabhoomi and no major law and order problem was reported," said Dhananjay Kulkarni, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 5.
Queues stretched up to Haji Ali in Worli as most endured a daylong wait to pay obeisance to Ambedkar on his 56th death anniversary. "This is the 56th year that I have come to Chaityabhoomi and I have always been proud of the small connection I share with Babasaheb. I joined the queue in Worli village at 11 am and hope to enter Chaityabhoomi by 7 pm," said Shalini Salvi, who lives on the J J Hospital campus.
Happiness was evident in the air over the Centre's announcement of handing over Indu Mill land to the state government for an Ambedkar memorial.
"I am happy a memorial may finally come up at Indu Mill. It is the least that a great leader like Ambedkar deserves," said Akshata Jadhav of Agripada, who was accompanied by her husband and their son.The site, however, continued to be heavily guarded on Thursday.
A police officer at the site said, "On Wednesday noon, RPI president Ramdas Athawale and Anandraj Ambedkar (Dr Ambedkar's grandson) went inside to pay their respects, but we have not allowed anyone to go inside today, even though a lot of people have come to me to be allowed in."
At Shivaji Park, the Republican Party of India hailed the transfer of Indu Mill land as "a major victory achieved due to Ramdas Athawale's campaigning all over the state".