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Uddhav call on memorial

Mumbai, Nov. 20: Bal Thackeray’s son Uddhav today asked people opposed to a memorial to his father at Shivaji Park to put off the debate as the family was still in mourning and hadn’t yet come to terms with his death.

“This is not the time to debate upon (the) memorial. (The) Thackeray family is still in grief. Why this controversy when the Shiv Sena family is yet to recover from the shock. The people who are opposing (the memorial) should understand our feelings. I request those creating unnecessary controversy with folded hands to help us maintain restraint,” the Sena executive president said in a media statement.

The appeal came a day after senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi said the party “would like Balasaheb’s memorial to come up at Shivaji Park”, where the late leader’s funeral was held on Sunday.

The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had responded cautiously, saying it would take a “positive approach” if it received a formal proposal.

Some local residents have, however, opposed the move, saying a memorial to Thackeray in the “silence zone” could set a precedent that might trigger similar demands in the future.

Ashok Rawat, a trustee of an NGO that had petitioned Bombay High Court to declare the park a “silence zone”, said some residents felt that the ground already had a memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji and “another memorial should not be erected there”.

In his statement today, Uddhav said the lakhs who attended his father’s funeral behaved with restraint and discipline.

“I respect and thank them for their restraint. I shall leave the decision about the memorial to these Shiv Sainiks. I would not like to come in between the Shiv Sena chief and the Shiv Sainiks.”

Sena spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut said “no one can stop” the memorial from being built.