BSP leader Armstrong’s body to be laid to rest at Pothur in Tiruvallur district, orders Madras High Court

BSP supremo Mayawati pays tribute to the murdered leader Armstrong’s body in Chennai on July 7, 2024.

BSP supremo Mayawati pays tribute to the murdered leader Armstrong’s body in Chennai on July 7, 2024.
| Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Madras High Court held a special sitting on July 7 and passed orders for burying the body of murdered Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) Tamil Nadu unit president K. Armstrong on a private land belonging to his relative spread over an acre at Pothur village in Villivakkam panchayat union in Tiruvallur district.

Justice V. Bhavani Subbaroyan said, the procession must be carried out peacefully and also advised to bury the body on July 7 itself since it was now kept in a corporation school campus in Chennai, for the people to pay their last respects, but the school had to be reopened on July 8.

Though a last minute request was made by advocates R. Sankarasubbu and R. Krishna Kumar for according police respects to the departed leader, the judge said, a representation in that regard could be made to the government and it would be up to the latter to consider the request.

She refused to pass any orders regarding police respects while disposing of a writ petition filed by the deceased leader’s wife A. Porkodi who had sought a direction to the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to permit the burial of the body at the party’s office premises in Perambur, Chennai.

However, Addtiional Advocate General J. Ravindran said, the GCC Commissioner had on July 7 rejected the request made by the writ petitioner on Saturday since the BSP office was located in a thickly populated residential area and the approach road to it was only 16 feet wide.

Further, a superstructure housing the the party office was in existence on that land as per an inspection carried out by a zonal officer, the Commissioner said and asked the petitioner to bury the body in any of the burial grounds maintained by the GCC in the city limits.

The AAG told the court that generally the corporation allots only 18 square feet of land to bury a body but in Armstrong’s case, it was willing to allot 200 square feet for construction of a tomb. However, the petitioner’s counsel did not accept the proposal and insisted on burying the body at the party office.

When the judge pointed out that their writ petition seeking a direction to GCC Commissioner had technically become infructuous in view of the rejection order passed by the officer on Sunday, an alternative proposal was submitted before the court to grant permission for the burial at a private land in Pothur village.

Thereafter, when the court proceedings began in the afternoon, the AAG submitted that the Pothur village panchayat had convened a meeting on Sunday morning and granted permission for burying the body on the land owned by one T.V. Latha, a resident of Perambur Baracks Road in Chennai.

He said, there was no water body within a radius of 90 metres from the land and hence there were no issues in burying the body over there as per the Tamil Nadu Village Panchayat (Provision of Burial and Burning Grounds) Rules of 1999. Though seven houses were in existence within the radius, none had raised any objection.

Therefore, the Tiruvallur Collector T. Prabhushankar had forwarded the panchayat resolution to the State government on Sunday itself for reclassifying the land from Ryotwari punjai to burial ground in the revenue records, the AAG said and added that the government had done its best.

After recording his submissions, the judge said, the body could be laid to rest permanently at Pothur and the BSP office in Chennai could either be converted into a memorial or renamed after Armstrong or any other hospital or such structure could be raised within the Chennai city limits in memory of the departed leader.

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