Tamil Nadu’s E Palaniswami government has faced a barrage of criticism for rejecting the DMK’s request for M Karunanidhi’s burial next to the grave of his political mentor CN Annadurai along Marina beach. National Conference chief Omar Abdullah found the ruling AIADMK’s stand petty, Congress president Rahul Gandhi asked the E Palaniswami government to be magnanimous and the CPM general Sitaram Yechury described the AIADMK government’s denial of the burial site “most unfortunate”.
But the sharpest attack came from the DMK, the party that Karunanidhi led for nearly 50 years, which also approached the Madras High Court against the state’s decision. The DMK said the AIADMK’s refusal to permit the burial was plain and simple, “political vendetta” and “reeks of pettiness”
“We are not asking for a memorial at this stage… but only that he should be buried next to his mentor, Anna,” DMK spokesperson and lawyer A Saravanan told reporters after the high court’s unprecedented hearing past midnight. The state government did not spell out its stand in the court and will resume hearing this morning at 8 am and is expected to pronounce its order by 8.30 am.
Mr Saravanan said Anna Square, the memorial built in memory of former chief minister, was not covered under the coastal regulation zone that bars construction within 500 metres from the waterfront.
During the midnight court hearing and later, Mr Saravanan spoke about how the AIADMK government had no qualms when it buried AIADMK matriarch and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa at the MG Ramachandran memorial, her mentor.
“We also informed the court how the government is proposing to construct a 3,400-3,500 square feet building for Ms Jayalalithaa’s memorial but is refusing to give 6 feet of land for Karunanidhi,” the DMK leader said, a reference to a Rs 50 crore memorial that the AIADMK government is planning to build for its leader. The memorial is modelled on a phoenix to symbolise Jayalalithaa’s grit and political comebacks.
“They (AIADMK government) want to test emotional patience of the DMK cadres,” he said.
Karunanidhi’s son and DMK working chief MK Stalin has asked the party cadres to maintain peace and hand over miscreants, who may try to tarnish the DMK’s image, to the police. “Prove DMK follows military discipline,” he said in a public appeal for calm.