Fad­navis at­tempts to calm an­gry Dal­its THE IM­POR­TANCE OF THE DALIT VOTE

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Naresh Ka­math and Faisal Ma­lik ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The BJP gov­ern­ment is al­ready fac­ing the ire of the Dalit com­mu­nity in neigh­bour­ing Gu­jarat. But the com­mu­nity’s show of strength at a rally near CST on Tues­day to protest the de­mo­li­tion of Ambed­kar Bha­van seems to have re­ally rattled it.

Chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis on Wed­nes­day an­nounced that the state gov­ern­ment will re­store Ambed­kar Bha­van be­fore July 30 — the dead­line set by Dalit out­fits to be­gin re­build­ing the demolished struc­ture.

Fad­navis also an­nounced a probe into the no­tices is­sued by the BMC to de­clare Ambed­kar Bha­van a di­lap­i­dated struc­ture and also the role of the state’s chief in­for­ma­tion com­mis­sioner Rat­nakar Gaik­wad, who is ad­vi­sor to the Peo­ple Im­prove­ment Trust (PIT), which owns and demolished the struc­ture to build a 17-storey tower. Ambed­kar Bha­van had sig­nif­i­cance in Dr Babasa­heb Ambed­kar’s move­ment against un­touch­a­bil­ity. Sev­eral Dalit out­fits, in­clud­ing the ones led by Dr Ambed­kar’s grand­sons Prakash and Anan­draj, took part in a protest march in south Mum­bai on Tues­day, de­mand­ing ac­tion against those who had demolished the struc­ture. The is­sue was also raised in the leg­is­la­ture on Wed­nes­day.

Speak­ing on the is­sue in the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil, Fad­navis called the de­mo­li­tion erroneous. He of­fered an olive branch to both Prakash and Anan­draj. “If Prakash and Anan­draj have some plans, we will con­struct the struc­ture us­ing gov­ern­ment funds,” Fad­navis said.

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