Memorial for M Karunanidhi on Marina beach: What is the controversy?

Anna Samadhi or Gandhi Mandapam? Memorial for five-time Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi has led to a controversy.

The Madras High Court Wednesday is hearing a petition filed by DMK lawyers seeking space near Anna Samadhi — the memorial of his mentor C N Annadurai — to build a memorial for DMK patron M Karunanidhi. The court, which held a late night hearing at 10.30 pm on Tuesday, resumed proceedings this morning. Karunanidhi, five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, died on Tuesday evening at the age of 94. He was admitted in Kauvery Hospital a fortnight ago where his condition deteriorated.

Karunanidhi’s children and DMK leaders MK Stalin, MK Alagiri and MK Kanimozhi had met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi K Palaniswamy on Tuesday seeking permission to lay their father to rest at the Marina. The CM, refusing to grant access, allotted two acres of land at Gandhi Mandapam in Guindy, sources told The Indian Express.

Follow LIVE UPDATES on the Madras HC hearing 

Former chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, including Annadurai, M G Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, have been laid to rest at Marina beach. Congress’ K Kamaraj is buried at Gandhi Mandapam.

Anna Samadhi or Gandhi Mandapam?

The AIADMK-led government is opposing the move to build a memorial citing pending cases challenging allocation of land for memorials at Marina beach. This is because the land is designated under the coastal regulatory zone — the DMK has challenged this. CRZ rules do not allow any new construction within 500 metres of the high tide line. The DMK has argued that as courts have allowed construction of memorials off the beach in the past, access should be granted for Karunanidhi.

As of Wednesday morning, all five petitioners withdrew their pleas, saying they weren’t opposed to Karunanidhi’s memorial near Anna Samadhi.

Acting Chief Justice HG Ramesh is hearing the case.

Also read | M Karunanidhi (1924-2018): A Titan Departs

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