Sena gives up fight, says will shift structure on Monday

After standing guard for almost a month around the spot where Bal Thackeray was cremated to resist any move to remove a makeshift memorial there, the Shiv Sena Friday finally agreed to shift the structure from the spot on Monday.

In response to a notice by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) administration to remove the "illegal structure", mayor Sunil Prabhu of the Sena and party MP Sanjay Raut said the party would remove the structure on December 17.

This is a U-turn from the stand that they would would not budge as the place was sacred to them. Two days ago, Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray indicated a mellowing of the Sena hardline on the matter, when he said the party was ready to shift the structure from its present spot.

The exact place the structure will be shifted to was not clear but sources hinted at the relocation spot being somewhere along the periphery of Shivaji Park, where they would build a small memorial as opposed to a grand one they had planned at the cremation spot.

The BMC commissioner had granted the Shiv Sena special permission to conduct the last rites of Thackeray at the centrally located Shivaji Park. The Sena was supposed to remove the cremation platform a day later but the party converted the spot into a makeshift structure and said they would build a memorial there. The BMC sent a notice to Prabhu and Raut, who had sought the permission for the cremation at Shivaji Park.

The notice directed them to remove structure immediately or face stringent legal action. The structure was deemed "illegal" and stood in "violation of the order that had approved the funeral" at the place.

"We assured them structure will be removed on December 17. The exact spot where we will shift Samadhi is to be decided," confirmed Raut.

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