Mumbai: The Shiv Sena has finally removed the temporary memorial structure at Shivaji Park, where party founder Bal Thackeray was cremated. Work began after midnight on Monday and was completed just early on Tuesday morning.
This comes after three weeks of stalemate between the Maharashtra government and the party, who has now agreed to shift the memorial to another location. The Shiv Sena is in talks with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation for that.
The Shiv Sena agreed to remove the temporary memorial structure while responding to a notice from the BMC in this regard. This comes after an article in the party mouthpiece 'Saamnaa' on Thursday had claimed that the structure would be moved to the outskirts of the Shivaji Park.
Last week, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan had given a stern message to the Shiv Sena, asking them to vacate the Shivaji Park. He had said that the park was given to the Shiv Sena only for the cremation of Bal Thackeray.
"Shivaji Park was given for Bal Thackeray's cremation on the grounds that it will be returned in the same condition. We want the Shiv Sena to abide by the conditions and follow the law," Chavan had said.
Ever since Thackeray's death, the Shiv Sena had pressed for a memorial to be built at Shivaji Park. "Come what may, we won't allow the removal of the 30x30 feet chowthara (platform)," Sena legislator Eknath Shinde told reporters. Referring to the large number of Shiv Sainiks from Mumbai, Thane and other places who had come to Shivaji Park, Shinde said they would not budge from the venue and also foil attempts to remove the structure.
The BMC, in its notice, had said that the permission to use the ground was given only for the cremation and that it should be restored to its original status as it is a reserved plot as per the city development plan. "The purpose for which the site was allotted (for Thackeray's cremation) is over. Therefore, we have asked both Prabhu and Raut to remove the structure immediately or face legal consequences," Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte had said.