India

Why DMK fought a court battle to bury Karunanidhi at Marina beach

The Marina beach is not any ordinary cemetry in Chennai, it is the final resting place of iconic politicians.

New Delhi: The political tussle over the final resting place of DMK chief M Karunanidhi came to an end on Wednesday after after the Madras High Court on Wednesday ruled that Kalaignar Karunanidhi would be laid to rest at Marina Beach. The request by DMK to bury Karunanidhi at the beach was turned down by the AIADMK government.

The Marina beach is not any ordinary cemetery in Chennai, it is the final resting place of iconic politicians. Three former chief ministers are buried there – CN Annadurai, MG Ramachandran and J Jayalalithaa, who died last year.

The burial at Marina Beach for party patriarch Karunanidhi assumes significance for the DMK as it is the resting place of CN Annadurai, founder of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Karunanidhi’s mentor.

In the court hearing on Wednesday, DMK said, “All we need is 6X6 foot land for a tall leader, nothing else.”

Last year, the ruling AIADMK circumvented a ban on construction within 500 metres from the water front along the beach by burying J Jayalalithaa in an existing memorial. That of her mentor, MG Ramachandran or MGR.

The DMK insists that the same yardstick should be followed for Karunanidhi’s burial. On Tuesday, the Tamil Nadu government led by chief minister E Palaniswamy of the AIADMK, had rejected the DMK’s request for permission to bury Karunanidhi, saying it was “unable to allot space at Marina beach owing to several pending cases in the Madras High Court and legal complications.”

The state government also cited rules of the Coastal Regulation Zone Act, saying two acres land would be allotted for Karunanidhi’s burial near Gandhi Mandapam, the memorial dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi. Other former chief ministers including C Rajagopalachari, also known as Rajaji, and K Kamaraj are buried at the  Gandhi Mandapam.

Next to Annadurai’s grave is the memorial of MG Ramachandran, who was with DMK and worked closely with Karunanidhi before breaking off to form his own party, the AIADMK. And next to MGR is the memorial of his political successor and former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who passed away in December 2016.

Hence, Marina Beach forms an important cornerstone in remembering and acknowledging the iconic leaders of the Dravidian movement and of Tamil Nadu.

Memorials of the three former CMs of Tamil Nadu – Annadurai, MGR and Jayalalithaa –  have been constructed at the northern end of the beach promenade, called as the ‘Anna Square’, which will also be the final resting place of Karunanidhi.

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