Sena refuses to budge, keeps vigil at Shivaji Park

Sainiks guard Thackeray cremation structure 24x7

Shiv Sena workers maintained a strong presence at Shivaji Park Sunday as well to thwart the possibility of government agencies pulling down a temporary platform created for cremation of party chief Bal Thackeray.

BMC had served a notice on MP Sanjay Raut and mayor Sunil Prabhu last week for breaching the one-day condition of the permission for the structure and asked them to raze it immediately.

The two have not replied to the notice yet.

Sena has refused to demolish the "illegal" structure and has been guarding it since after the funeral.

Raut visited Shivaji Park Sunday and allayed fear of supporters that the "memorial" would be brought down.

"There is no question of demolishing the memorial. The notice for removal of the structure is just a government paper and we will reply to it," he said.

Two platoons of police have been positioned in the area, as small groups of Shiv Sainiks guard the structure.

Sainiks are streaming in from across the state to take turns to protect the platform.

Sena leader from Thane Rural Prakash Patil, who had been keeping vigil at the site with supporters since morning, said, "The sentiment for Balasaheb Thackeray is so heartfelt, people have been skipping work to come to Shivaji Park and guard the structure. There is a party worker who got married yesterday (Saturday) but is standing guard."

Santosh Bamne, a Shiv Sainik from Ghatkopar, was among the few part of night vigil.

"Others in my group will leave as they have been missing work for the past few days, but I plan to stay back. Just in case," he said.

While at least 150 workers, including women, from various factions of Shiv Sena are guarding the structure 24x7, visitors to the memorial are thinning out.

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