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Plan to restore Ambedkar Bhavan deferred

mumbai Updated: Jul 30, 2016 01:30 IST
HT Correspondent
Ambedkar Bhavan

The Ambedkar brothers have planned to push forward their agitation – shramdaan -- planned on July 30 to restore the demolished Ambedkar Bhavan at Dadar.(HT File)

The Ambedkar brothers have planned to push forward their agitation – shramdaan -- planned on July 30 to restore the demolished Ambedkar Bhavan at Dadar, as the Bombay high court asked them to maintain status quo on Friday .

The People’s Improvement Trust demolished the Ambedkar Bhavan and Buddha Bhushan Printing Press -- once the epicentre of Dr Ambedkar’s fight against untouchability, which hold great significance for Dalits -- on June 26.

They said a grand 17-storey structure would be built on the plot at a cost of Rs60 crore. Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash announced the plan to restore the bhavan through voluntary work or shramdaan at a massive rally on July 19. Lakhs of supporters were expected to reach Dadar for the restoration programme on Saturday.

“We respect the judiciary and have decided to abide by the order,” said Anandraj Ambedkar, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson. “We have already waited long and two more days [the next hearing is scheduled on Monday] will not make much difference.”

Rattled by the show of strength, CM Devendra Fadnavis offered to rebuild the structure according to the plan of the Ambedkar brothers. But they turned down the offer.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to attend the convention of the Republican Party of India in October to commemorate the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.

According to Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale, Modi has agreed to be part of the function to be held at Pune. During his meeting with Modi, Athawale discussed various issues, including handing over of Indu Mills land, where a grand memorial of Dr Ambedkar is being planned, along with the appointment of a caretaker for the house in London where Dr Ambedkar lived.

Maintain status quo, says HC

The Bombay high court restrained on Friday entry into the demolished Ambedkar Bhavan premises at Dadar, staying the proposed and much-advertised shramdaan or rebuilding of the structure scheduled for July 30.

Justice Kathawalla was hearing an application filed by the Peoples Improvement Trust (PIT), which manages the bhavan in Dadar, seeking a stay on the proposed rebuilding. The trust told the court the demolition was only as per the BMC’s directions. In the notice, the BMC had said that the building was dilapidated and posed a danger to the public. “Three of the occupants— Prakash, Anandraj, and Bhim Rao, all grandsons of Dr Ambedkar— however, refused to vacate, even after we told them they will be allowed to live in the building once it was rebuilt,” the trust told the court.

The HC directed all stakeholders to maintain status quo till further orders and directed the police chief to “take action” against anyone who defies its orders. The matter may come up for hearing on Monday. HTC