Apprehending law and order and traffic issues, the Mumbai Police have suggested to the state government to declare December 6 - the 50th death anniversary of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar - as a local holiday.
The police plea comes in the backdrop of reports that between 8 to 10 lakh people from all over the country are likely to converge on Dadar’s Chaitya Bhoomi on that day to pay their respects.
The proposal, sent almost a week ago, was given to the General Administration Department (GAD) in Mantralaya after a feasibility report prepared by the joint commissioner traffic and joint commissioner law and order’s office.
It also took into account projections made by various Dalit organizations which estimated that there would be between 25 and 30 lakh that day.
Sources in Mumbai Police told HT on Wednesday that the law and order department’s opinion for a public holiday for Mumbai also took into account the fact that December 6 was also the anniversary of the Babri Masjid demolition.
The Khairlanji massacre had further aggravated the situation.
Sources said that Dalit leaders in the state are planning a massive rally to the Nagpur assembly hall on December 4 - the first day of the legislature’s winter session - to demand justice for Dalit victims.
Police fear that any fall out of the rally may have a ripple effect on the Dalit convergence at the Chaitya Bhoomi on December 6.
“We have already given our reasons to the state government for a public holiday on December 6,” said Joint Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Arup Patnaik. He refused to elaborate about the reasons.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satish Mathur said: “We knew it in advance that this year there would be a massive congregation of people on Ambedkar’s 50th anniversary. Unless regular vehicular traffic is controlled that day, it will be difficult to manage,” Mathur added.
Police sources said a massive bandobast plan has been chalked out for two days at the Chaitya Bhoomi.
It has been decided to put barricades on all 10 roads leading to the site. Besides, traffic watchtowers would be put up in at least three points leading to the venue. Vehicles would be allowed to ply only on one road through the Shivaji Park corridor on that day.
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