The DMK has moved the Madras High Court to seek orders for a memorial at Marina beach for M Karunanidhi
CHENNAI: A rare midnight hearing on the DMK's petition in the Madras High Court to seek permission for the former chief minister M Karunanidhi's burial along Marina beach was inconclusive after the ruling AIADMK government sought time to get back with its stand. The high court has gave the state 7 hours to make up its mind and resumed hearing at 8 am. The Tamil Nadu government had on Tuesday evening rejected the request from rival DMK, triggering sharp criticism of its decision in Tamil Nadu and beyond. The DMK says the AIADMK's refusal to give six-feet land to bury the five-time chief minister next to his mentor CN Annadurai's grave "reeks of pettiness and political vendetta".
Here are the 10 updates on this story:
The two-judge bench led by Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh, who heard the late night petition at home, is hearing the case at another special hearing. The court, along with other public offices and institutions, is closed as a mark of respect to the 94-year-old leader, considered the last Tamil Nadu politician with a mass following.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who dominated the state's politics for six decades along with arch-rivals MG Ramachandran and later, J Jayalalithaa, died at Chennai's Kauvery Hospital a little after 6 p.m. on Tuesday. He was 94.
The Tamil Nadu government had earlier rejected the DMK's request for permission, saying it was "unable to allot space at Marina beach owing to several pending cases in the Madras High Court and legal complications."
Instead, the government said Karunanidhi could be laid to rest at a 2-acre plot near Gandhi Mandapam, the memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. It also has memorials to other chief ministers including C Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, and K Kamaraj.
Initially, the only two Tamil Nadu chief ministers to have memorials in their honour at Marina beach were Chief Ministers CN Annadurai, who founded the DMK and MG Ramachandran, who launched the AIADMK.
The privilege was extended to J Jayalalithaa by the ruling AIADMK when she died in December 2016 by circumventing a ban on construction within 500 metres from the water front. She was buried in an existing memorial for her mentor MG Ramachandran.
The DMK says the same format should be allowed for M Karunanidhi. "We are not asking for a memorial at this stage... but only that he should be buried next to his mentor, Anna," DMK spokesperson and lawyer A Saravanan told reporters after the hearing.
Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh took a dim view of the Tamil Nadu government's request to seek time. According to news agency PTI, the court observed that every minute of delay may cause problems to the government and asked if it was prepared to handle it. The court also asked what the problem was in allotting a burial site for him at Marina beach.
Extending his support to the demand, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked the ruling AIADMK to be "magnanimous in this time of grief". "Like Jayalalitha ji, Kalaignar was an expression of the voice of the Tamil people. That voice deserves to be given space on Marina Beach," he tweeted.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of chief ministers, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and several others from across the country are expected to fly to Chennai on Wednesday. In his message, PM Modi described Karunanidhi has one of the country's senior-most leaders, a deep-rooted mass leader and a prolific thinker.