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MCD said it did not give order to make structures that discriminated between dead based on class
Arya Samaj admitted to the act and removed the structures after public outcry; MCD then filed FIR
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has slammed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for filing a police complaint against Arya Samaj for removing “unauthorised” semi-VIP pyre platform and railings erected by the social group at the Nigam Bodh Ghat crematorium here.
The Nigam Bodh crematorium has different standards of pyres -- ‘ VIP', ‘semi-VIP' and ‘ordinary'. When Right to information activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal asked through an RTI application who ordered the newly-built semi-VIP platforms resulting in discrimination at the cremation ground, the MCD washed its hands off saying it had not given any such orders.
Later it came to light that Arya Samaj, which was given the responsibility of maintaining the crematorium by the civic body, had illegally erected these railings. However, after the matter sparked a public uproar, Arya Samaj started removing these railings.
However, during a hearing on Mr. Agrawal's plea before the Central Information Commission on Monday, officials of the Samaj informed the panel that that MCD had filed a police complaint against them for removing these “unauthorised” railings.
“The Commission notes the irony that the MCD had not been keen to stop what it claimed was unauthorised putting up of railings and creation of semi-VIP crematorium. However, the fact that it has now rushed to file a police complaint for removal of unauthorised structure reveals the way MCD functions,” Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi pointed out.
“It is ironical,” he said, “that the MCD appears to be not very keen to remove unauthorised structures but has become very vigorous in complaining about the them being removed.”
MCD Health Official N. K. Yadav has even claimed that the semi-VIP platforms were more than 25 years old and no records of their creation are available, an argument which did not stand as these platforms were found to be recently-built.
Mr. Gandhi said the MCD had “originally” claimed that it had no hand in the creation of these semi-VIP pyres and they had not given any permission for such a “grotesque differentiation amongst dead human beings”.
The MCD had also come under fire from the Union Urban Development Ministry which found that it was sitting on a public grievance complaint filed at Rashtrapati Bhavan in the matter. The Ministry has written to the civic body seeking explanation for not acting on the complaint even after eight months as against the two-month statutory requirement.
In a related plea against the MCD, Mr. Gandhi also issued a show-cause notice to the civic body for not providing information to Mr. Agrawal within the statutory time limit of one month. - PTI
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