A Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) ward office in Worli in South Mumbai was vandalised on Monday night allegedly by Shiv Sena workers after it refused to give them permission to build a memorial for late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray at Shivaji Park.
The Shiv Sena is treating the temporary structure, where Bal Thackeray was cremated, as a Samadhi Sthal
(memorial) and is refusing to vacate the area.
BMC, the civic body that governs Mumbai, has objected to this, terming it as illegal. Interestingly, BMC is currently being run by the Shiv Sena-BJP combine which is the principal Opposition in Maharashtra.
After the incident, the police have extended security to all the 24 BMC wards across
the city. 7-8 people were involved in last night's incident, police say.
The BMC had served a notice on Mayor Sunil Prabhu and Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut last week to remove the makeshift memorial from Shivaji Park immediately or face legal consequences. The notice points out that while permission for the structure, which the duo had sought, was granted only for a day - November 18 - for Mr Thackeray's funeral, it had still not been removed.
The move by the civic authority came days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan said the state government would not do anything in violation of the law with regard to Sena's demand to set up a memorial at the spot as the matter with regard to Shivaji Park, which has been declared as a silence zone, is pending in High Court.
Mr Raut had said that the site of Mr Thackeray's cremation was like a "temple" for Shiv Sainiks, and while he insisted that they weren't terming it a memorial, he made it clear that the structure would not be dismantled. "It is like a temple for us and we won't remove the structure that has come up at the cremation site...We are not calling it a memorial. But we want the memorial at the Shivaji Park," he had said. He had also asked the government and court not to intervene in the issue.
Senior party leader Manohar Joshi first made the demand for the memorial of Bal Thackeray at the site, soon after the Sena supremo was cremated. The 86-year-old Sena chief was cremated on November 18 at Shivaji Park in Dadar, the same ground where he had addressed his followers during Dussehra rallies for over 40 years and the party is keen to have a memorial erected in his memory there.(With PTI inputs)