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After paying tribute to Dr B R Ambedkar at the Chaitya Bhoomi on Tuesday, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the completion of the memorial at Indu Mill at the earliest would be a befitting tribute to the Dalit icon.
“Ambedkar’s Constitution has given all of us a direction and we are following it. Though Babasaheb had written the book ‘Problem of Rupee’ in 1923, it is certainly useful in our time,” said Fadnavis recalling Ambedkar’s scholarly writings on economics. Fadnavis also released the English version of a coffee table book on Ambedkar by Dr Narendra Jadhav.
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Civic officials said the number of people gathered on Tuesday was around 30 per cent less than last year.
“The people who visited today could be around two lakhs though the figure was around three lakhs last year. The reason behind the fewer number of people could be the demonetisation as many did not have cash,” said one official, who did not wish to be named.
Authorities were expecting a larger turnout this year as a show of strength in response to the Maratha rallies that have been held across the state, demanding quota benefits for the community and a review of the atrocities Act.
Meanwhile, a small group of activists vandalised a stall set up by The People’s Improvement Trust at the Chaitya Bhoomi. Office-bearers of the trust said the stall was set up with two other NGOs including the Ambedkar Centre for Justice and Peace.
“Besides other books, there was a book called ‘Ambedkar Bhavan-come and Understand the Truth’ at the stall. We were also distributing handbills about the same to know the facts behind the issues. Some anti-social elements raised objections to it. Then they vandalised the stall, threatened our staff at the stall to remove the book. Despite having proper permission, the stall was removed,” said Madhukar Kamble, a trustee.
Kamble further said a police complaint was registered with the Shivaji Park police station on the issue.
In another incident, a scuffle broke out in front of Fadnavis between two sections of Dalit groups that oversee the management at the
“When the CM came, the protocol was not being followed which made the followers upset. It led to a small scuffle but the issue was sorted out later,” said Ramesh Jadhav, an activist from the Republican Sena.