Dalits vacate Indu mill after govt assures memorial land

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 30, 2011 01:50 IST

The state government managed to keep its assurance to the Bombay high court by convincing Dalit activists and monks to vacate the Indu mill premises in Dadar on Thursday.

The controversial issue of allocation of the entire 12.5 acres of Indu mill land for the proposed memorial to Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar is likely to be resolved when chief minister Prithviraj Chavan leads an all-party delegation to meet prime minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Friday.

The decision of the Republican Sena workers to vacate the mill, which they have forcibly occupied since December 6, came after home minister RR Patil made the assurance at a public meeting organised by Republican Sena president and Dr Ambedkar's grandson Anandraj.

The Dalits are demanding that the entire 12.5-acre mill land be allotted for the memorial, instead of the four acres earlier earmarked by the government. The land belongs to Centre-run National Textiles Corporation.

Sources close to Chavan said that the Congress convinced the PM to allot the entire land as civic polls are slated to be held in Mumbai and nine other cities in February. Dalit voters, with 12% presence across the state, enjoy a significant say in electoral politics. The call had to made urgently as the code of conduct for these polls is expected to come into force in the first week of January.

Anandraj said that he had temporarily withdrawn the agitation. "We will peacefully withdraw from the mill premises."

"We had made it clear that we will vacate the premises the day the government announces the memorial," he added. He, however, said that the bust of both Lord Buddha and Dr Ambedkar will remain in the mill premises under police security.

The police said the eviction  was peaceful amid heavy deployment of personnel. Mumbai police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli said that no untoward incident was reported.


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