THE ARREST of a local boy, allegedly responsible for desecrating Dr Ambedkar’s statue, led to large-scale violence in Kanpur on Friday.
Protesting against the arrest, hundreds of people took to the street and resorted to brickbatting, leaving many people injured and several vehicles damaged. There was a time when police personnel had to run for their life deserting the Kakadeo police station. The police, however, gave in to pressure later and released the boy Arun Valmiki.
The boy was, however, yet to return home. While the police claimed to have released Arun on personal bond, his family said he was still in police captivity at some unknown location. Adding to fuel to fire, the boy’s mother, who sat on an indefinite dharna along with her husband, has threatened to self immolate herself. Political leaders of various parties immediately joined the family.
The Kakadeo police arrested Arun, a daily wager, late on Thursday night when he was returning home. According to the police, he was picked up from outside the Ambedkar Basti on ‘credible information’ that he and his two friends were behind the damage caused to the statue. “Arun and his friends desecrated the statue under the influence of liquor. He was even repentant over his foolishness,” said SP (west) Gulab Singh.
His arrest became public in the morning, evoking a sharp reaction from the locals. A mob led by BSP leaders Anil Shukla Warsi, Anant Mishra ‘Antu’, Dhaniram Panther, Nirmal Tewari and others stormed the police station and accused the police of falsely implicating Arun. The police response only angered the people who manhandled the cops who tried to prevent them from entering the police station. At the same time, another group of people heavily stoned vehicles outside the Ambedkar Basti to make matters even worse.
SSP PC Meena said since the police released the boy it was for his family to find out where he was. “Now all our efforts are directed at tracking down the two other accused,” he added. Till the time of filing of the report, the officials were trying to get the mother-father duo to end their dharna. Additional police force has been deployed to meet any eventuality.