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Politics of burial in TN: Is Marina burial only for sitting CMs?


Chennai, Aug 8: Unfortunate politics broke out following the death of DMK leader, M Karunanidhi. The DMK has been demanding a burial at the Marina Beach where stalwarts of the state of Tamil Nadu such as C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa were laid to rest.

M Karunanidhi

Interestingly, prior to the death of Karunanidhi, a petition was filed in the Madras High Court, seeking a directive to prevent burials at the Marina Beach. However a day prior to the death of the former Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister, the petition had been withdrawn.

The PIL filed in the Madras High Court seeking to restrain the Corporation of Greater Chennai from permitting any burial of bodies on the famous Marina Beach here was dismissed as withdrawn.

When the first bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice S S Sundar began the day's hearings, petitioner V Gandhimathi made an urgent mention and requested permission to withdraw her plea. Recording her submission, the bench dismissed the petition as withdrawn.

The petitioner had submitted that the coastal area of Marina was being turned into a burial ground, which not only spoiled the aesthetics but also endangered the ecosystem in and around the beach.

She had sought a direction to the corporation not to permit burials in the area.

Despite such consequences, permission was given by the authorities for the burial of former chief ministers like C N Annadurai, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa on the Marina, the petitioner said.

If any further burials and resultant construction were allowed at the Marina, it would damage the environment, she had claimed.

Several other PILs against the proposed memorial for Jayalalithaa at the Marina are pending before the court.

Senior advocate Duraisamy told journalists, "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."

The state government in a statement 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."

While the DMK continued to demand that the burial takes place at Marina, the argument on the other side is that it would apply only to sitting Chief Ministers. Other former chief ministers such as Rajaji and Kamraj have been buried near the IIT. Following the death of Karunanidhi, the state government has offered others sites which include the Gandhi Mandapam at Guindy.

While the ruling AIADMK raised the the issue citing three petitions pending in the HC, it may be recalled when Jayalalithaa had passed away in December 2016, the rule had been circumvented by burying her in the existing memorial for her mentor, M G Ramachandran.

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