BSP activists lathi-charged
Statues of Dr BR Ambedkar were desecrated in Allahabad and at a village in Karnataka on Wednesday, even as the death anniversary of the Dalit icon was observed across the country.
The Ambedkar statue’s right hand was found broken on the Allahabad University Law Faculty campus on Wednesday morning, but the administration took quick steps to repair it.
Police later cane-charged half-a-dozen BSP activists who were protesting against the damage to the statue, in the Civil Lines market in Allahabad. Police bundled many protesters into the anti-riot Vajra vehicle and took the injured to hospital.
Some activists claimed to have stopped a train near the CMP Degree College. However, their claim was contested by college students, who said they had stopped the train to demand early students' union elections and the BSP activists had merely joined them.
During the protests, many shopkeepers put up their shutters. Traffic was also thrown out of gear in Civil Lines.
Activists marched towards the High Court crossing, where the death anniversary of Ambedkar was being observed, and tried to stage a road blockade there.
But were persuaded by police to give up the idea and lodge a protest with the district magistrate instead. The activists later stopped a bus and went to the Collectorate without attending the death anniversary function. Earlier in the day, activists assembled at the Dalit Hostel in front of the Ishwar Sharan Degree College as soon as they heard about desecration of the statue.
From there, they marched to the AU Law Faculty whose gates were locked with PAC and policemen maintaining strict vigil. Failing to enter into the premises, the students walked to the Civil Lines with sticks and beat up a few persons.Apprehending further vandalism, police cane-charged them.
The then Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had unveiled the Ambedkar statue on the Law Faculty campus in 1997. Sources claimed the chowkidar on duty told police that there was nothing wrong with the statue till 1.30 am.
In Karnataka, police lobbed teargas shells and charged with batons at Mannaekkelli village and Bidar town as Dalits torched buses and hurled stones after a string of footwear was found on the fence around an yet-to-be-unveiled statue of Ambedkar.