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CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Thursday said that a statue of B.R. Ambedkar would be relocated to its earlier location, in front of Village Library Hall, Old Pattinam village in Cuddalore district. It should be unveiled in the presence of the District Collector and the Superintendent of Police by this month-end.
The court was passing an order on a petition by T. Amirthalingam of Old Pattinam seeking a direction to authorities for re-erecting the statue at the original site. The issue involved the unceremonious shifting of the statue and the petitioner’s efforts to bring it back. By a resolution adopted at the Special Gram Sabha meeting on August 15, 2008, the statue was erected sometime in August/September 2008. However, a person who had been defeated in the election to the post of panchayat president started a campaign to shift the statue and relocate it on the banks of the village pond near a Dalit settlement.
The petitioner, fearing a law and order problem, filed the petition. The court, by an order on January 20 this year, granted interim stay. But, the statue was removed the next day. In its order allowing the petition, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice K.K. Sasidharan, said the interim was to pre-empt any untoward incident. “Unfortunately, some of the government officers do not appear to have acted in consonance with the order of the court.” As rightly stated by the Advocate-General, court orders had to be respected. If there was any disobedience, the persons concerned would have to be dealt with in accordance with law. The Bench said it was unfortunate that the statue, which was remained in place for more than a year was sought to be shifted to a Dalit settlement.
The Home Secretary had said that the parties concerned would have to file an application to the Collector for permission to place the statue at the earlier location. The petitioner should do the same immediately. “We expect the District Collector to pass the order regularising the installation of the statue on after receipt of the application.”
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