‘Mayawati Govt "misled", "confused" SC on statues row’



New Delhi: The Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh "misled" and "confused" the Supreme Court and filed a "false" affidavit denying further construction activities at the memorials for BSP founder Kanshiram and other Dalit leaders, a fresh counter-affidavit stated on Wednesday.

In the counter-affidavit, Mithilesh Kumar, one of the petitioners on whose petition the construction was stayed by the apex court on Sepember 8, charged that the recent affidavit filed by the state government had deliberately coined new names for some of the structures to claim that they were not the subject matter of writ petitions in the Allahabad High Court.

The apex court had earlier termed "unsatisfactory" the UP government's affidavit which, while denying any fresh constructions, also offered "most profuse apology for any transgression."

"To mislead this hon'ble court and to create confusion, the state through its Chief Secretary has split one composite site into different projects and coined new names for them in an attempt to show that the projects with newly coined names are not covered under the writ petitions and on that basis continue construction at the disputed sites in the teeth of restrain orders," the counter-affidavit stated.

According to it, Bhagidari Bhawan, Library, Police Chowki, are all part of the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Sthal on which the apex court had stayed all further construction activiites.

It was, however, alleged the state government went ahead with the construction, inviting the wrath of a bench comprising Justices B N Aggrawal and Aftab Alam.

The apex court had on September 11 taken strong exception to the UP government allegedly continuing with the construction at the memorials despite giving an undertaking to it on September 8 not to do so.

On September 11, the Mayawati government had filed an affidavit denying media reports and allegations of the petitioners that construction activities were in full swing despite the undertaking.

Further, the counter-affidavit submitted that the UP government had wrongly said the Samajik Parivartan Sangrahalaya, Pratimb Sthal and Drihya Sthal are not subject matters of the litigation.

According to the petitioner, the state government had wilfully and deliberately flouted the undertaking given to the apex court on September 8 and subsequently on September 11 and was continuing with the construction activities by coining new names to existing structures.

"The state of UP's functionaries and those connected with the construction work are guilty of committing wilful contempt of this hon'ble court and are liable to proceeded against and severely punished in accordance with law for the same," the affidavit said.

It also alleged those persons, including media personnel, going near the site for clicking photos are being manhandled by musclemen to prevent the truth from coming to the knowledge of the apex court.

Earlier, the apex court had in a blunt message to the Mayawati government said it would examine the constitutional validity of the authorities' decision to spend a whooping Rs 2,600 crore for constructing statues and memorials for political leaders.

"We have to examine whether you can spend so much of the public money. Serious questions arise in this petition. Cabinet and the legislature have to act under the Constitution", a bench of Justices B N Agrawal and Aftab Alam had said.

On September 8, the court had recorded an undertaking by Uttar Pradesh government that there would be no further construction at the memorials.

However, media reports had said construction activities were going on in full swing despite the court's directive, after which the bench had issued a show cause notice to the state government.

The state government filed an affidavit denying the allegations, which failed to satisfy the bench.

The UP government had triggered a controversy by changing the land use of certain areas adjoining the 35-acre sprawling Ambedkar Sthal park green belt by demolishing 30-odd public buildings to construct the memorials.

Bureau Report