A DALIT youth was beaten to death today as violence and arson marred the protests that erupted in parts of Maharashtra and Kanpur against alleged vandalisation of a statue of B R Ambedkar in the industrial town of Uttar Pradesh.
Rangnath Shankar Dhale, a 23-year-old resident of hutments at Muktidham in Nasik city, was beaten to death by a mob which found him allegedly pelting stones at vehicles passing by at Nasik Road during protest against vandalisation of Ambedkar statue in Kanpur.
Activists of Dalit groups and various factions of Republican Party of India took to the streets in Pune, Nasik and Mumbai resenting the statue desecration during which one bus was set on fire and over 25 vehicles, including five Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation buses, were damaged in stone-pelting, police said.
The protestors burnt tyres at several places, obstructing vehicular traffic. In the textile town of Malegaon, unidentified persons pelted stones at three temples, police said.
Additional police forces were deployed in Nasik where the situation was described by police as tense. Shopkeepers downed their shutters on the busy Subhash Road, Jail Road, Dutta Mandir Road of Nasik and around the railway station due to stone pelting.
At least 10 vehicles were damagaed in stone pelting by RPI activists in northeast Mumbai. In Kanpur, angry locals damaged several vehicles and held up traffic after passers-by noticed the damaged statue at Ambedkar Nagar in the morning.
In Pune, over 50 private and public vehicles were damaged in stone-pelting in at least half a dozen localities, police said. At least four persons, including two policemen, were injured in the stone pelting.
While a Pune Municipal Corporation bus driver and an auto-rickshaw driver were hurt in Swargate locality, two policemen were injured at Pimpri Chinchwad, an industrial township about 25 km from Pune. A mob also tried to set ablaze a fire brigade tender in Pimpri Chinchwad.