A huge protest rally, led by Babasaheb Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, was on Tuesday taken out in south Mumbai to condemn the demolition of Ambedkar Bhavan. 

Leaders cutting across party lines shared the stage and lashed out at the BJP-led Central and Maharashtra governments on the issue. The protest rally, which started at Byculla, reached the headquarters of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in south Mumbai in the afternoon.

CPI(M)’s general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar, Shiv Sena leader Neelam Gorhe, Congress MLA Varsha Gaikwad, AIMIM MLA Waris Pathan, among others, addressed the gathering. 

The Ambedkar Bhavan and the Buddha Bhushan printing press started by Babasaheb Ambedkar at Dadar in central Mumbai were demolished by Peoples Improvement Trust last month, claiming it was dilapidated and a grand Ambedkar Bhavan would come up in its place. 

During the rally, the protesters demanded immediate arrest of retired IAS officer Ratnakar Gaikwad and a trustee of the People’s Improvement Trust, in connection with the demolition. 

Kanhaiya Kumar attacked the BJP government stating the one who cannot create the history, destroys it. “Can you demolish and construct new Railway building here? Can you demolish the Taj Mahal and create a new building there?,” he said. 

“You say it was due to an internal dispute and issues between the groups of Ambedkar’s followers. If that is so, there are disputes and issues in Assemblies and Parliament too? Then would you bulldoze these premises as well?,” he asked. 

Terming Centre’s move to observe Dr Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary as mere “drama”, Kumar said if this BJP government had respect for Babasaheb and his principles, then it would not have pulled down the historically important building in the late hours of the night.

(Feature image source: Twitter)