DMK’s MK Stalin asked the government for permission to bury party patriarch M Karunanidhi at Marina Beach
DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, who died in a hospital on Tuesday evening, cannot be laid to rest at the Marina beach in Chennai, the ruling AIADMK government has said, turning down requests from the DMK for permission to bury him next to the grave of his mentor and DMK founder, CN Annadurai at Chennai’s “Anna Square” memorial. Chief Ministers CN Annadurai, MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa have been laid to rest along the Marina Beach, counted among the world’s longest beaches.
The DMK has moved the Madras High Court acting Chief Justice against the government’s decision. Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh has agreed to hear the petition at 10.30 pm
Rejecting the DMK demand earlier, the Tamil Nadu government said Karunanidhi could, however, be laid to rest at a 2-scre 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.
The DMK patriarch’s family – working president MK Stalin, his brother MK Alagiri and sister Kanimozhi – had reached out to the government hours before Chennai’s Kauvery Hospital announced the death of one of India’s tallest leaders.
They had also met Chief Minister E Palaniswami and other officials earlier in the day. Senior DMK leader Durai Murugan told reporters that the government had initially accepted the request but later appeared to be backing out.
The state government, however, has cited court cases against construction of memorials along Marina Beach.
Coastal regulation zone norms do not permit fresh construction or memorials to come up within 500 metres from the water front.
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 The high court also dismissed the petitions as withdrawn.
When AIADMK’s chief minister Jayalalithaa died in December 2016, the ruling AIADMK had circumvented the rule by burying her in the existing memorial for her mentor and former chief minister MG Ramachandran.
The ruling AIADMK is going to build a memorial modelled on a phoenix to symbolise Jayalalithaa’s grit and political comebacks. To be surrounded by landscaped gardens, the memorial is expected to cost Rs 50 crore.