On the occasion of Dr BR Ambedkar’s 55th death anniversary, dalit activists led by his grandson Anandraj Ambedkar stormed Indu Mill in central Mumbai to take possession of the land for an Ambedkar memorial.
The agitation took place even as Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan announced that the entire 12.5 acre plot on which the mill stood will be reserved for an Ambedkar memorial, Vipasana centre and an institute.
The issue of handing over the plot for an Ambedkar memorial besides amenities for Dalit followers and Buddhist monks has been festering for over a decade. It has, however, come into limelight now with political parties eyeing the Dalit vote bank.
The activists led by Anandraj, chief of Republican Sena, placed the bust of Dr Ambedkar in the mill as Buddhist monks performed a ceremonial pooja to install it.
“We don’t trust the Congress to really take this issue forward other than some lip service. Today, 25 lakh dalit followers came to Shivaji Park with a hope that Dr Ambedkar has been given some of his due through transfer of this land. It hasn’t happened,’’ said Anandraj.
Anandraj, who has contested elections earlier on his elder brother Prakash Ambedkar’s Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) ticket and briefly associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party denied that the agitation was a political stunt.
``There has been some delay. But, since I took over, I have written two letters to the Prime Minister and we are actively pursuing the matter. The centre is considering our demand,’’ said Chavan.
Both the Congress and NCP have promised to take delegations to meet the prime minister on the issue.