. PTI Photo by Kamal Singh(PTI11_26_2015_000135B)
. PTI Photo by Kamal Singh(PTI11_26_2015_000135B)

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government said on Friday that it has appointed experts to present its case before a local council, which has sought to close down a memorial of Dr B R Ambedkar in north London.

The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said the government was taking all the steps to address the council's objections. The government has appointed a solicitor and two planning experts to present its case before the council, it said.

The matter will be heard by the council authorities in September, the CMO said in a statement. Ambedkar House, a memorial of the Dalit icon, is part of a four-storey residential building at 10 King Henry's Road.

Dr Ambedkar had lived there in 1921-22 during his student days at the London School of Economics. The local council recently rejected an application by the Indian authorities to convert the property into an official museum or memorial.

The property does not have the permission to be used as a museum and must be returned to residential use, the council officer's report with reference to the application said.

"Singhania & Co Solicitors have been appointed to present Maharashtra government's case....Mr Steven Gasztowicz QC and planning expert Mr Charles Rose have been named in the committee formed to present the government's case," the CMO statement said.

"...efforts will be made at all levels to complete the memorial work addressing the issues raised by the council," it added.

Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly Vijay Wadettiwar termed the London council's decision as "unfortunate".

"This structure which was made holy by Ambedkar's stay is a matter of faith for all. The government should speak to the UK government to ensure that the (building's) memorial tag remains intact," the Congress leader said.

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