|The Smriti Mandapam will be dedicated on August 15 near Palakkad in Kerala.|
By Anantha Krishnan MBengaluru, Aug 11: This is the story of two concrete structures. Both belong to a martyr. One will be dedicated to public on August 15, when India celebrates 70 years of her Independence. Another, might just fall prey to the bulldozers partially, if the officials show no mercy.
As this piece goes live online, martyred National Security Guard (NSG) Commando Lieutenant Colonel E K Niranjan’s father E K Shivarajan might have boarded a bus from his ancestral home in Elambulassery, near Palakkad in Kerala, heading to Bengaluru.
For the last two months Shivarajan has been completely involved with constructing a Smriti Mandapam at the same spot where Lt Col Niranjan was laid to rest on January 5.
Lt Col Niranjan (33) was martyred at the IAF base at Pathankot while defusing an explosive from a terrorist’s body on January 3, this year. He was part of NSG’s bomb detection squad. He is survived by his wife and daughter.
|A worker gives finishing touches to the Smriti Mandapam.|
BBMP officials say one pillar in the house illegal: In Bengaluru, his 15 year old residence situated at Vidyaranyapura, has been marked partially as an encroached structure. As per the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials, one pillar of the house is illegal, blocking the storm water drain.
Following the rains and flooding streets, the ongoing BBMP drive against encroached buildings has been ruthless, with many occupants finding their sweat-and-blood-shelters partly or fully being erased.
“I have been staying here since 2002. Our earnings were very less and I bought the land it with all my savings from Bharat Electronics Ltd. I bought the land from an ex-IAF official and most of our neighbours have some connection with the armed forces. Everything was okay with the house and suddenly we were taken aback hearing that part of it would be demolished,” Shivarajan told Mathrubhumi.
|Lt Col Niranjan's father Shivarajan next to the Smriti Mandapam.|
Niranjan’s granny to visit Smriti Mandapam on Aug 15: He said owing to the demolition drive, he is forced to leave the Smriti Mandapam work, which is almost ready.
“I will come back to Kerala again on August 14. The Smriti Mandapam is a father’s tribute to the brave son of India. My mother (Padmavathi Panicker), who is nearing 90 years old, will open the Mandapam on August 15. Niranjan was very close to his grandmother and she is very eager to see this,” he adds.
Vijayan Mannampatta, the contractor who built the Smriti Mandapam, said the construction work was completed within two months.
“I am honoured to have undertaken this work. Everything has been done as per the directions of Niranjan’s father. It’s been a very moving mission for me,” says Vijayan.
Shivarajan said his wife Radha and younger son Shashank have been handling the BBMP officials and the media in the last couple of days.
|The partially-demolished compound wall of Lt Col Niranjan's house in Bengaluru.|
We want no favours; but a little time to plan, says Shashank: “We are not asking for any favour from the government. If there is a violation we are ready to rectify the same. We have sought time and hopefully they will grant it,” says Shashank, who is employed with TCS. His elder sister Bhagya Lakshmi is a tutor, while elder brother Sharath Chandra serves the IAF as a Wing Commander.
Interestingly, six months back, the BBMP officials have alerted the family about the encroached parts of the house.
Today the bulldozers have partially erased the boundary wall and they might be back within a day or two to demolish the pillar that supports the first and second floors.
The family hopes to find a solution with Shivarajan expected to reach Bengaluru on Friday morning. The family plans to hold a meeting with the BBMP officials on Friday.
|Niranjan's mother holds on to the pillar, now marked illegal.|
My boy was made of iron, says proud father: But as on Thursday night, the BBMP officials are sticking to the rule book. They are saluting the sacrifice of a martyr. But the bulldozer seems to have locked on to the illegal pillar.
Meanwhile, back in Elambulassery village, the workers will give finishing touches to four strong pillars holding the Smriti Mandapam in the next two days.
But, Lt Col Nirajan was stronger than the pillars of Elambulassery set to be painted and the one in Vidyaranyapura, likely to be demolished.
“My boy was made of iron,” adds Shivarajan, a proud father.