Remove Thackeray’s makeshift memorial in 24 hours or face consequences, BMC chief warns Sena


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MUMBAI: A day after chief ministerPrithviraj Chavan asked the BMC to draft an action plan to remove the makeshift memorial of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray from Shivaji Park, municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte on Monday night served an ultimatum on mayor Sunil Prabhu and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut to remove the temporary structure within 24 hours or face the consequences.
A senior BMC official told TOI that if the two Sena leaders did not heed the notice, the BMC would not only remove the structure and initiate legal proceedings against them, it would also not hesitate to disqualify Prabhu. "Under the provisions of the BMC Act, a councillor can be disqualified for supporting unauthorised structures," he said. "We hope better sense prevails and Prabhu himself takes immediate steps to remove the temporary structure."
The BMC also filed a caveat in the Bombay high court on Monday to ensure that if any case on the temporary structure came up, no orders would be passed without hearing them.
Won’t give up Samadhi space: Raut
Shiv Sena mayor Sunil Prabhu and RS MP Sanjay Raut will file a caveat on the issue of the makeshift Shivaji Park memorial for Balasaheb Thackeray on Tuesday .
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan ,to ward off a likely law-and-order problem , had conceded the demands of senior Sena leaders that Bal Thackeray be cremated at Shivaji Park in a state funeral . "We thought that after the cremation was over , the Sena would remove the structure on its own ," said the official . "We are shocked by the party’s demand for a memorial on the spot .It’s a clear breach of trust . Uddhav Thackeray might have expressed displeasure on the row over the memorial but his party member shave made it a prestige issue."
Indeed , Sanjay Raut on Monday said that the Sena would not give up the samadhi space at Shivaji Park under any circumstances . Stating that the small edifice where Bal Thackeray’s funeral pyre was lit on November 18 was as sacred to Shiv Sainiks as Lord Rama’s temple in Ayodhya , Raut said , "We will select a new venue for the Balasaheb’s memorial . However , the government should not touch the samadhi space at Shivaji Park ."
The official said in view of the ultimatum served on the Shiv Sena leaders , lawenforcement agencies had been put on maximum alert . "Security in and around Shivaji Park has been stepped up ," said the official . "We will not allow Sena workers to take the law into their hands ."
Aware that its insistence on a memorial on the Shivaji Park ground will not comply with CRZ norms and will not go down well with residents of Shivaji Park , the Shiv Sena may withdraw its demand and suggest alternate sites including an open space near the Bandra-Worli sea link at the Bandra end , said a senior Sena functionary .

(With inputs from Bhavika Jain and Sanjeev Shivadekar)

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