Ambedkar not on list of leaders allotted land for national memorial, reveals RTI
Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 23, 2012
It will be 62 years since the Indian Constitution came into force, but
the man who drafted it, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, does not feature in the
list of 14 national leaders who have a memorial in their name in
Delhi. This was revealed in a reply to a Right to Information (RTI)
forth by Dadar resident Chandrakant Bhandare over the past year.
What is worse is that in their replies to Bhandare, neither the
central home affairs ministry nor the urban development ministry in
charge of land allotment know the policy for allotting land for
memorials of national leaders in Delhi. In their reply, these
departments said that 'information is not available' on whether
Ambedkar is a national leader.
The Central Public Works department, in its reply, sent a list of
'location of memorial land of national leaders' which included 14
names including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Lal
Bahadur Shastri, Sanjay Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Charan Singh, Gyani Zail
Singh but do not mention Ambedkar.
"A group of Ambedkar sympathisers like me, who have been fighting for
the Indu mill land issue, wanted to know why land was not put aside
national memorial for him. Why have Congress leaders been given this
status and not the father of the Indian Constitution? Is he not
considered a national leader?
They do not seem to have answers," said Bhandare. For the last decade,
Dalits have been fighting to get a memorial for Ambedkar at the now
defunct Indu mill land in Mumbai. The state government finally took
this issue up seriously and agreed build a memorial on the land
'in-principle' early this month in lieu of the upcoming civic polls.
Anandraj Ambedkar, who led the agitation at Indu mills in December
2011 that forced the Congress to give in to their demands said, "The
Congress does not want to recognise him and give him the respect he
Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale who recently joined
hands with Shiv Sena for not having got their 'due' from the Congress
said, "We will protest against this and make sure that Congress keeps
up to its promise on the memorial." Ambedkar was given the Bharat
Ratna, the highest civilian award, in 1990, 34 years after his demise.
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