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Govt halts parking lot project at Nagpur’s Deekshabhoomi after massive protests

Govt halts parking lot project at Nagpur’s Deekshabhoomi after massive protests

Nagpur, July 1 (SocialNews.XYZ) Thousands of Dalits trooped to the famed Deekshabhoomi in Nagpur – where Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and over 4 lakh of his followers had embraced Buddhish 58 years ago – to stage a protest against a proposed underground parking lot being constructed there on Monday.

The protesters, including many women, rushed there and targeted the steel reinforcing bars, several cement-concrete pillars, the temporary boundaries erected there and set fire to some other wooden and scaffolding materials, taking the authorities by surprise.


Even as the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi leaders slammed the government, the Nagpur Police and Riot Control Police rushed forces to the spot, issued appeals to maintain peace on mega-phones, and urged the protesters to disperse from the spot, but few paid heed.

Rattled by the possible political fallouts in the upcoming Assembly elections, Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a stay on the parking lot project in the legislature on Monday afternoon.

Fadnavis said that though the Deekshabhoomi Trust had approved the proposal and it was cleared by the state government along with the necessary funds, in view of the public sentiments, the project has been stayed till all viewpoints are taken into account.

A final decision would be taken following unanimity of all the stakeholders, he added.

Top MVA leaders, including Congress’ Nitin Raut, Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Aditya Thackeray and Sushma Andhare, Nationalist Congress Party (SP)’s Jitendra Awhad, and Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi President Prakash Ambedkar, have attacked the state government for pushing ahead the proposal without taking the Dalits and other stakeholders into confidence.

Prakash Ambedkar said that despite repeated objections raised for a long time, some of the trustees were adamant about going ahead with the project though there were no demands for an underground parking lot, adding that there could be commercial interests linked to it.

Aditya Thackeray said whenever there are mega events, such underground facilities are closed for security reasons.

Raut and Awhad urged the government and the trustees “not to disturb the sacred monument” or play with Dalit sentiments as there are apprehensions that the new parking lot could damage the foundation of the massive dome of Deekshabhoomi.

Local Dalit leaders expressed apprehensions that the construction activities and digging works could have a bearing on the stability of the dome structure (stupa) at the historic monument, which they would not allow.

On October 14, 1956, B.R. Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, along with over 4 lakh Dalits embraced Buddhism at this venue, where the world’s biggest hollow stupa was later unveiled in December 2011 by then President K.R. Narayanan.

Source: IANS

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Govt halts parking lot project at Nagpur’s Deekshabhoomi after massive protests

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