Mumbai: AAP on Monday dubbed the BJP-led Maharashtra government as "anti-Dalit" for giving go-ahead for demolition of a decades-old building and a printing press in Mumbai associated with Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The Ambedkar Bhavan in Dadar, which also housed the Buddha Bhushan printing press started by the Dalit icon, was demolished late last month by Peoples Improvement Trust (PIT).
The trust, founded by Ambedkar, owns and manages the affairs of Ambedkar Bhavan. PIT said the structure, which was associated with Ambedkar's movement for social reforms, was in a "dilapidated" state and it was razed after receiving a notice from the BMC, the local civic body.
The way the historically important Ambedkar Bhavan was demolished shows the current government led by BJP is "anti-Dalit", Preeti Sharma Menon, national spokesperson of the party, said at a press conference in Mumbai.
All norms were set aside and permission was given to demolish the building, which was part of Ambedkar's rich legacy, she said.
"Had this government had even a little respect for Babasaheb, this shameful act would not have taken place," she said.
The AAP leader alleged that a BJP MLA was eyeing the property and wanted to develop it commercially.
"Commercial development is not going to restore the dignity of Babasaheb, which has been torn apart by this government. Now this government should build memorials across the state to control the damage," she said.
Menon said properties associated with Ambedkar were part of his legacy and also national assets. Therefore, the state government and civic body should have taken opinion from the common people and other stakeholders of the building before permitting the demolition.
"Both Prakash Ambedkar (Ambedkar's grandson) and Anand Ambedkar (a leader of Republican Sena) are carrying forward the legacy of Babasaheb in rightful way. This is why we are going to extend our support to their rally (against the demolition) tomorrow," said Sharma.
Another AAP leader Satish Jain said it was really sad that at a time when "we have gone extra mile to preserve Ambedkar's property in London, his property in our own city has been razed."...