By SM.08 Aug, 2018
CHENNAI: A bench of the Madras High Court will tonight hear a petition against the ruling AIADMK government"s refusal to let DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi be buried at the Anna Square memorial at Marina Beach. Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh has agreed to hold a special hearing to decide the DMK"s request. The state government has rejected the demand, triggering a huge political row and protests by DMK workers outside Kauvery Hospital. The DMK sees the government"s denial as an effort at political one-upmanship and slight the memory of the five-time chief minister.
The ruling AIADMK government had rejected the DMK"s request for permission, saying it was "unable to allot space at Marina beach owing to several pending cases in the Madras High Court and legal complications."
The government, however, said Karunanidhi could be laid to rest at a 2-acre plot near Gandhi Mandapam, the memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. It also has memorials to other chief ministers including C. Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, and K Kamaraj.
Initially, the only two Tamil Nadu chief ministers to have memorials in their honour at Marina beach were Chief Ministers CN Annadurai, who founded the DMK and MG Ramachandran, who launched the AIADMK.
Coastal regulation zone norms, which came up later, banned fresh construction or memorials to come up within 500 metres from the water front.
The privilege was still extended to J Jayalalithaa by the ruling AIADMK when she died in December 2016 by circumventing the ban. She was buried in the existing memorial for her mentor and former chief minister MG Ramachandran.
The DMK says the same format should be allowed for M Karunanidhi and he should be laid to rest near the grave of his political mentor and DMK founder, CN Annadurai at Chennai"s "Anna Square" memorial.
Extending his support to the demand, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked the ruling AIADMK to be "magnanimous in this time of grief". "Like Jayalalitha ji, Kalaignar was an expression of the voice of the Tamil people. That voice deserves to be given space on Marina Beach," he tweeted.
The DMK had hoped this would not be a problem after three petitioners including social activist "Traffic" Ramaswamy and advocate Duraiswamy withdrew their public interest petitions without assigning any reason. The high court also dismissed the petitions as withdrawn.
The DMK president"s body will be taken to his home in Gopalapuram in Chennai and then to Rajaji Hall for people to pay their last respects. A DMK leader said Karunanidhi"s mortal remains will be laid to rest on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a host of Chief Ministers, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and several others from across the country are expected to fly to Chennai on Wednesday. In his message, PM Modi described Karunanidhi has one of the country"s senior-most leaders, a deep-rooted mass leader and a prolific thinker.