At Chaityabhoomi, lakhs pay tribute to Ambedkar on 63rd death anniversary
Lakhs of people had come to Mumbai on Friday to pay respects to Ambedkar on his death anniversary, observed as Mahaparinirwan Din.
Dressed in a quintessential blue kurta, Pune-resident Tanaji More urged people gathered at Chaityabhoomi, to pay tribute to Dalit icon Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar on his 63rd death anniversary, to financially assist the activists facing charges in Elgaar Parishad case.
“We want the cases registered against the social activists in Bhima-Koregaon (incident on January 1, 2018) to be dropped immediately… I have come here to tell people what is going on (in the case) and ask for a donation,” More announced on a microphone near Chaityabhoomi —a Buddhist shrine in memory of Ambedkar in Dadar.
One person was killed in violence near Koregaon-Bhima, a day after Elgaar Parishad — a conference — was held in Shaniwar Wada near Pune to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon-Bhima on December 31, 2017. The incident had led to statewide Dalit agitation, following which police arrested several activists and intellectuals.
Like More, lakhs of people had come to Mumbai on Friday to pay respects to Ambedkar on his death anniversary, observed as Mahaparinirwan Din.
Railway stations and roads leading to Shivaji Park teemed with his followers, mostly donning white clothes and blue coats.
Raju Prabhakar Kamble, another Pune resident who has come to the city with his wife and seven-year-old twins, said, “Nothing can deter us from coming here every year. We came here when the twins were just a few months old and we will continue to come here and pay our respects to Babasaheb. I want to teach my children about him.”
At Chaityabhoomi, 16-year-old Sayli Anant Thorat said it was the first time she had come without her parents. “I want to come here every year,” she said enthusiastically.
A total of 100 CCTV cameras were installed to monitor the crowd this year. At least 16 water tankers and 380 taps were installed to ensure adequate drinking water supply, while 18 mobile toilets and 120 fibre toilets were also set up. As a precaution, 45 lifeguards also patrolled the coast around Dadar seafront, while 11 ambulances were kept on standby.
Around 3,500 volunteers from ‘Amhi Ambedkarwadi’ were also seen assisting civic officials to collect garbage on the route from Dadar station to Shivaji Park.