While the governments at the Centre and the state ponder over whether or not to allot the Indu Mills land for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's international memorial, a group of 12 Buddhist monks, who have seized the mill premises, are adamant about not leaving until their demands are met.
"We will stay put until the government gives us an official assurance," said Bhante Sangabodhi, a monk who has come from Pune. "We have already started calling the place Ambedkar Memorial," said Sangabodhi, adding that it was an instinctive decision by the monks to protest on the premises.
On December 6, Republican Sena activists along with the monks barged into the India United Mills No 6 (also called Indu Mills) compound, demanding the entire 12.5-acre land for the construction of the memorial as opposed to the government proposal of allotting four acres.
They carried busts of Gautam Buddha and Babasaheb Ambedkar that are now worshipped by followers who pass by the mills during the day.
On Thursday, another outfit, the Republican Party of India (Athawale) ravaged the Indu Mills structure following demands raised by the Republican Sena.
"We offer daily prayers to Gautam Buddha and impart spiritual knowledge to devotees who visit the mill," said Bhante Karunabodhi, who has come from Amravati, some 600km north east of Mumbai.
"We have been staying on the mill premises for the past ten days and it is heartening to see the kind of support we are getting from people," said Banti Swapan, a monk from Kolkata on his second visit to the city. Badhanta Dhamma Seth, a monk from Aurangabad, said devotees were taking care of their daily necessities such as food, water and sheets to sleep on.
Asked if political parties were joining hands with them, Sangabodhi dismissed such assumptions.
"We are led by Anandraj Ambedkar (Republican Sena leader) and our fight is completely based on our faith in Ambedkar. We are seeking the land for the benefit of the followers who come from all over the country," Sangabodhi said.