Wednesday, December 21, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Memorial melodrama

Memorial melodrama
By: MiD DAY Correspondent Date: 2011-12-22 Place: Mumbai

The encroachment of the Indu Mills in Dadar by followers of Dr BR
Ambedkar has laid bare the impotency of the Centre and the State to
maintain the rule of law.

The followers have been camping on the premises, in a screeching
protest to demand the entire mill land to erect a memorial of Dr
Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian constitution. The glaring
unconstitutionality of the possession is lost on the so-called
followers, who have been criticised by the Bombay High Court for the
utter disregard they exhibited for the constitutional way and for the
consequences of their actions.

The court also minced no words in pulling up the Congress-led
government. The fact that nothing concrete has emerged for years
despite the state government's promise to develop the memorial has
rendered its pledge hollow. The incumbent rulers have long claimed the
backing of Ambedkar followers, and it beats one to answer why they
haven't been able to persuade the UPA government for allotting the

Also, the state failed to gauge the mood of Dalit organisations that
caught it unawares with the takeover, indicating its poor intelligence
gathering capabilities. The all-round inefficacy shown in dealing with
the issue has reduced it to a political contest of claiming credit for
the memorial. After Anandraj Ambedkar led the forcible occupation,
Ramdas Athawale-led RPI made considerable efforts to steal the thunder
and turn it into its politico-ideological war.

Meanwhile, the court's rap to the Cong-NCP government has been like
water off a duck's back. Instead of heeding the HC's comments, the
ruling parties pandered to the Dalit vote bank and approved a
resolution for allotting the land. As the court noted, the Indu Mills
episode may set a precedent for similar events in the future.

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