The Maharashtra government has declared a public holiday on December 6, the 67th death anniversary of BR Ambedkar. The announcement came a day after Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) president and MLA Varsha Gaikwad wrote to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde requesting him to declare December 6 as a public holiday.
According to a circular issued by the government, all state government and administrative offices in Mumbai and its sub-districts will remain closed on Ambedkar's death anniversary on Wednesday. However, the holiday is not under the Negotiable Instruments Act because of which all banks will remain open. The holiday is not applicable to schools. However, certain schools at Shivaji Park will remain closed on December 6 due to the large number of Ambedkar's followers who come to Chaitya Bhoomi in Shivaji Park.
'Many followers unable to pay respects'
The move came after Gaikwad wrote to Shinde requesting him to declare December 6 as a public holiday for government and private offices in Mumbai.
"Ambedkar dedicated his entire life to eradicating casteism and the development of the poor, Dalits, and backward classes. On his death anniversary, large crowds come not only from Maharashtra but also from abroad at Chaitya Bhoomi. However, since it is a working day, many followers are unable to pay respects at his memorial at Shivaji Park. Many state organisations have been demanding a holiday for many years," Gaikwad wrote in the letter.
Widely known as the Mahaparinirvan Diwas, the day attracts lakhs of Ambedkar's followers from India to Dadar's Chaitya Bhoomi, where they gather to pay their respects. Preparations in Mumbai began in full swing to ahead of the Mahaparinirvan Diwas. Authorities announced several traffic diversions and additional transport in the anticipation of lakhs of Ambedkaris converging at Chaitya Bhoomi.