HC asks architect to ascertain damage to Buddha Bhushan printing press

By 03 Aug 2016

The Bombay High Court has ordered architect Shashi Prabhu to carry out a site inspection of the Buddha Bhushan printing press and assess the damage caused. The printing press started by Dr B R Ambedkar was damaged during a recent demolition action at Ambedkar Bhavan at 2 am on 25 June.

Picture credits: www.ambedkar.in

According to a Press Trust of India wire, Justice Kathawalla was hearing an application filed by the People’s Improvement Trust (PIT), which manages the Bhavan in Dadar, seeking a stay on the proposed rebuilding.

Meanwhile the Police and the Home Department will probe the “suspicious” demolition, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has stated.

As reported by PrintWeek India a month ago, the Bhavan housed the Buddha Bhushan printing press housed in Ambedkar Bhavan in Dadar in central Mumbai is of historical importance. It was the centre of the Dalit movement and the demolition has caused the destruction of many records. Substantial portions of the structure was demolished recently by the People's Improvement Trust, which runs the Ambedkar Bhavan, after it was served a notice by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) that the building was in a dilapidated and dangerous condition.

The CM has said, "If the Ambedkar family agrees, the Government will (re)build the Bhawan instead of the Peoples Improvement Trust (which manages the property).” The printing press would be given heritage status, he added. The building was demolished last month, with the trust, of the present State Information Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad is a member, saying that it was dilapidated and would be replaced by a new 17-storey Ambedkar Bhavan. But it led to protests by Dalit groups and Dr Ambedkars grandsons Prakash and Anandraj Ambedkar. Anandraj Ambedkar has also lodged an FIR against Gaikwad.

The matter is now in the Bombay High Court which has asked both the parties to maintain a status quo.

At 2am on 25 June, the Ambedkar Bhavan in Dadar East, Mumbai was demolished. What made things suspicious was the demolition was carried out in the wee hours of Saturday (2am to be precise). According to media reports, a rare collection of books, the office furniture plus the printing press went under the rubble.

The architect, Prabhu has also been asked to submit a report on the inventory lying at the Budh Bhushan printing press.

According to Prakash Ambedkar's counsel, periodicals and some magazines were being printed at the press.

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