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Karunanidhi death: Marina burial place Litigation Hearing today at 8 Am

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Karunanidhi Row:

Hearing on Marina burial place row at 8 a.m. on August 8.

The Madras High Court will hold a special sitting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday to resume the hearing on a petition filed by the DMK seeking permission to bury party leader M. Karunanidhi’s body at the Anna Memorial on the Marina.

A Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh and Justice S.S. Sundar, which commenced hearing on the petition late on Tuesday night, has asked the State government and the Greater Chennai Corporation to file their affidavits on the issue by 8 a.m. Earlier, a controversy erupted over the final resting place of Mr. Karunanidhi, with his party seeking to bury him at the Anna Memorial. However, the AIADMK government, citing legal hurdles, offered a two-acre site at Gandhi Mandapam on Sardar Patel Road, opposite Anna University.

Former Chief Ministers C. Rajagopalachari, K. Kamaraj and Bhaktavatsalam have their memorials at the Gandhi Mandapam, while C.N. Annadurai, M.G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa were interred at the Marina. Several political leaders including Congress president Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, MDMK founder Vaiko, DMDK leader Vijayakant and actor Rajinikanth, urged the government to facilitate a burial for him at the Marina.

Senior advocate Duraisamy told journalists at Justice Ramesh’s residence: “The Anna Memorial does not fall under the Coastal Regulatory Zone since it was facing landward. Therefore there should not be any problem in allowing Kalaignar to be buried there.” DMK cadre resorted to protests across the State condemning the government’s denial and the police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the agitated cadre in front of Kauvery Hospital where Karunanidhi died.

After Mr. Karunanidhi was declared dead, party principal secretary Duraimurugan told reporters that the family placed a request with the CM for a memorial near that of Anna on the Marina. The Chief Minister only said, “We will see.” In his representation, working president M.K. Stalin pointed out that Mr. Karunanidhi was a five-time CM helming the State for 19 years, a 13-time MLA and a leader of the DMK for a staggering 50 years. An influential leader in south India, he had played a crucial role in the selection of Presidents and Prime Ministers, Mr. Stalin said, requesting the CM for permission for a place inside Anna memorial, for which the departed leader had a “moral right”. Legal difficulties: CS

Within minutes of the demand being made public, the government responded. In a statement, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan said: “Several litigations over allowing burials on the Marina were pending before the Madras HC and due to the legal difficulties, the place could not be allocated.”

The other request of the DMK to grant permission to keep the body of Mr. Karunanidhi at Rajaji Hall on Anna Salai for public viewing was acceded to, the Chief Secretary said.

The State government declared a day’s holiday on Wednesday for the funeral and will observe seven-day mourning, with the national flag flying half-mast. The funeral would be accorded full State honours and all government functions would be cancelled during this period. The condolence would also be notified in the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette, she added. Later in the night, Mr. Stalin, in a second statement, reiterated his request to the Chief Minister for a space inside Anna memorial.

Earlier, Mr. Stalin, Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, former Union Ministers M.K. Alagiri, T.R. Baalu, former Ministers I. Periyasamy, ‘Murasoli’ Selvam had called on the Chief Minister at his residence with a request to allocate space inside the Anna memorial. Apart from the CM, Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, Ministers C.Ve. Shanmugam and C. Vijaya Baskar were present.

In a related development, an advocate V. Gandhimathi, 48, withdrew a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by her last week to prevent the Greater Chennai Corporation from granting permission for disposal of dead bodies on the coastal area.

On Tuesday, the PIL petition was listed as the 17th case of the day before Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G. Ramesh and Justice S.S. Sundar. The petitioner’s counsel mentioned the matter before the Bench led by the Acting Chief Justice and sought the permission of the court to withdraw the case. Accepting the plea, the Bench dismissed the PIL petition as withdrawn

Karunanidhi, death, burial place, Chief Justice, Marina Beach, Jayalalitha, Stalin.

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