10 lakh Dalits gather for Ambedkar's death Aniversery in Mumbai

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Created on 06 December 2011


JAI BHIM... Mumbai: Free lunch, medical camps and even television for some evening entertainment — on December 6, all roads lead to the Chaityabhoomi. A few metres away from the colourful gathering is Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar's shrine, a place of worship for the lakhs of Dalits who converge in Mumbai every year. Ashok, an Ambedkar follower says, "We come here to seek Babasaheb's blessings on this day." In the last few days, over 5 lakh Ambedkar followers have gathered at Dadar's Shivaji Park and the numbers will soar as Dalits from across the state converge here to pay homage to their leader on his 51st death anniversary. And for first-timers like Sulekha Jagtap from Yavatmal in Maharashtra, this gathering is a time to assert their identity. "Ambedkar did a lot for us, so we come here to pay homage to him," says Sulekha. Authorities have made arrangements on a massive scale for the lakhs of followers who have gathered here. With CCTVs and a highly visible police presence, for authorities, providing facilities for this large congregation is an exercise in management and logistics, a challenge they are gearing up for. Mumbai's mayor, Shubha Raul says, "This year, we have arranged fire brigades, mobile toilets and drinking water for all the people who come to the shrine to pay their respects." For the average Mumbaikar, December 6 could mean traffic diversions, but for ardent Ambedkar supporters, it's their chance to take the annual pilgrimage route that leads up to the Chaityabhoomi. Be happy! Siddhartha Chabukswar




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