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Thursday, October 1, 2020

hasty house demolition and the hushed response !!

Names could change ! ~ rise to glory in tinseldom – person would hail from a small town – come to the city – hit by poverty in earlier stages – then phenomenal rise earning crores –owning building and property .. .. what does not get represented is the sordid tale of thousands of others who too break away from their villages, come to the city, get grief-stricken and live in chill penury.  This is no post on those innumerable citizens who land up Egmore railway station dreaming a chance in ‘dream factory’ but get hounded by middlemen, lose whatever they have .. ..


This is of a famous actress from a small town in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, hounded by politicians and not getting the support of the media ! yet the Court has come down heavily on the Maha Govt stating -   “From the notice, it is clear beyond any doubt that the works which are ‘unauthorised’ have not come up overnight. However, all of a sudden, the Corporation appears to have overnight woken up from its slumber, issued Notice to the Petitioner, that too when she is out of the State, directing her to respond within 24 hours, and not granting her any further time, despite written request, and proceeding to demolish the said premises upon completion of 24 hours.”

Lakshmibai, the Rani of Jhansi [1828 –  1858] queen of the Maratha princely state of Jhansi fought the British and was the leading limelight of Indian Rebellion of 1857.  Her life history -   “Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi” hit the silver screens last year, directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi.  Kangana Ranaut played the title role with elan.   The film was released on 3700 screens in 50 countries worldwide in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and grossed crores.  It had highest first day collection for any female oriented film.

The actress Kangana Ranaut will meet Maharashtra governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at Raj Bhavan today. “The governor has given her an appointment for 4.30pm,” a Raj Bhavan official said. After the BMC demolished parts of the actor’s Bandra bungalow on Thursday, the governor had expressed his displeasure over the hurry shown by the Shiv Sena-ruled BMC in carrying out the demolition.

Rules are rules but they are enforced with bias .,.  and sometimes the archaic rules are rusted out and used .. .. not sure how many people used cameras in 1937 and in the age of drones, aerial shots, google street views and many more electronic gadgets, whether the rules are relevant at all .. .. yet there are places which prohibit photography – you would every other person whipping a costly mobile and clicking photo but the moment, you take out your dabba camera, authorities would come with iron hand stating photography is banned,please delete the photo, else the camera would be confiscated.

Generally it is on individuals but this time, the Airlines itself is feeling the heat. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Saturday announced that violations of in-flight rules, including photography, will attract a suspension of the scheduled route for two weeks. The order came a day after the aviation regulator asked for a report from IndiGo airlines on violations of flight safety norms and physical distancing protocols by media persons on its Chandigarh to Mumbai flight, which had actor Kangana Ranaut onboard. A video shared on social media showed media persons crowding the aircraft’s aisle and pushing one another to gain access to the actor, who was seated in one of the front rows.

The DGCA notice read: “ per Rule 13 of the Aircraft Rules 1937, no person shall take, or cause or permit to be taken, at a government aerodrome or from an aircraft in flight, any photograph except in accordance with and subject to the the terms and conditions of a permission in writing...”

Ranaut had stirred a controversy earlier this month when she compared Mumbai to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Centre provided Ranaut Y-plus security cover on Sept 7, which entitles her to a Personal Security Officer and 10 armed commandos. When she wanted to come back to Mumbai, on air, she was surrounded by media personnel and bombarded questions that included personal Qs as well.  Some videos in circulation showed media persons standing too close on board the flight and everyone is now reminded of social distancing protocols.

Buried in the din is the threats issued by a Sena MP and Home Minister, who declared that   she had “no right to live here.” While Sharad Pawar has since said that Ranaut’s statements should have been ignored and clarified that the action was taken by the BMC and not the state government, BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis has come out in support of the actor except her comment on PoK.

After moving in haste and conducting demolition, the Brihanmumbai Municipal corporation (BMC)  moved an application asking the Mumbai civil court to vacate its stay on a demolition that they could carry out on a high-profile residence in Khar area of Mumbai. At Khar, the building in question is a residential high rise and on the fifth floor of that building is the residence of actor Kangana Ranaut. Kangana is reported to have bought three flats on the fifth floor of the building in 2013. The flats at that time are said to have cost her approximately Rs 14 crore. In 2018, the municipal corporation shot off a notice to the builder and the various occupants of the building stating that there were many unauthorised changes made. According to BMC officials themselves, "the irregularities were found not just on the fifth floor but in other floors as well." That notice was challenged by Kangana in the Dindoshi sessions court . Till that time no coercive action to be taken against the notice structure." With this, the court had disposed of the suit in 2018 itself.

The BMC looked into the issue and later again passed another order of demolition. This time, too, the members of the building including Kangana challenged the order in Dindoshi court and the court had ordered a stay on the demolition until further hearing. BMC officials said that they had been following up with the court until now and waiting for an appropriate order. After  recent war of words between Kangana and Shiv Sena, the BMC filed another affidavit before the court seeking that the stay be lifted. The court heard the case  and has kept the case for hearing two weeks from now. Until then, BMC officials will not be able to move and take action against Kangana's residence or for that anyone else' residence in that building.

The controversy took a grave turn   as the BMC demolished a part of her office at Pali Hill in Bandra. BMC tried defending  its stand on demolishing parts of actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow before the Bombay High Court and said, “she made false, baseless and unwanted allegations of harassment”. A Division Bench of Justices S. J. Kathawalla and R. I. Chagla was hearing a petition filed by Ms. Ranaut after the Shiv Sena-run BMC demolished parts of her bungalow at Pali Hill in Mumbai. Her plea states, “The action of the BMC is illegal, arbitrary, mala fide and without application of mind, in violation of principles of natural justice, unreasonable and improper.”

Could not stop thinking what would have been the views of political parties, had the actor [big or small] been an activist against the Central Govt – so many would be shouting on top of their voices on how ‘democracy is being gagged’ and how a woman is targeted !  Strange are the ways of people. 

With regards, S. Sampathkumar



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