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Rediff.com  » News » Violence likely if Thackeray memorial removed: Manohar Joshi

Violence likely if Thackeray memorial removed: Manohar Joshi

Last updated on: December 11, 2012 13:40 IST

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi tells Rediff.com's Savera R Someshwar he is shocked that the Marathi Manoos, for whom Balasaheb Thackeray did so much, are raising objections to a '100 sq ft' samadhi to the Shiv Sena patriarch at Mumbai's Shivaji Park.

It is an issue that has confronted the Maharashtra government, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation's senior administration, the residents living around Mumbai's famed Shivaji Park and Shiv Sainiks: Will Shiv Sena patriarch Balasaheb Thackeray's memorial be built at the site where he was cremated?

Shivaji Park, located in the heart of the megapolis, was the cradle of Indian cricket for many decades where an icon like Sachin Tendulkar learnt the game. Hundreds of children and young people play cricket at Shivaji Park every day.

It is also the site where the Shiv Sena was born over 40 years ago to protect the rights of the Marathi Manoos.

Even as the state administration has refused permission for any kind of memorial or monument to Thackeray at Shivaji Park, Shiv Sainiks views the cremation site as consecrated ground.

Mumbai's Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte has asked the Sena to remove the temporary structure erected for Thackeray's funeral or face legal consequences (see
here)

Angry Sainiks have been guarding the site, determined to thwart any eviction by the BMC.

Senior Sena leader, former chief minister and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi has demanded that a memorial be built for Thackeray, his mentor, at Shivaji Park.

But when asked to offer land for the memorial at the Kohinoor Mill compound (the land is valued at more than Rs 2,500 crore/Rs 25 billion today; it was bought for Rs 215 crore/Rs 2.15 billion in 2005), that is jointly owned by his son Unmesh and others, Joshi said it would not be possible.

The Kohinoor Mill compound is located opposite Sena Bhavan, the party headquarters, and has been deemed by some observers as a more appropriate location for the Thackeray memorial.

"People who are demanding a memorial there (in the Kohinoor Mill compound) should go and check the site. Three buildings have already come up... there is no space for a memorial," Joshi told Rediff.com during a lengthy interview, which will be published here shortly.

Joshi has no hesitation in demanding a memorial for Thackeray at Shivaji Park and says he is shocked that it is the Marathi Manoos, for whom the Sena patriarch did so much, who are raising objections to this move.

The former chief minister, who lives close to Shivaji Park, says the Sena could react violently if its demand for a Thackeray memorial is not met.

"If the temporary samadhi is removed," he warned, "there will be a lot of unhappiness within the Sena and there could be possible violence."

Savera Someshwar in Mumbai