There are quite different reasons behind demolitions and disputes over the erection and installation of icons in the past five years. But it has become one of the main reasons of law and order problem in the state, especially after former chief minister Mayawati’s statue was demolished here in Gomti Nagar on July 26.
The demolition of Mayawati’s statues provoked some other youths to damage statues of dalit icons in other parts of the state. The incident also led to major protests all across the state by the leaders and workers of Bahujan Samaj Party which in turn caused quite a law and order problem.
The police record shows that one of the most common reasons behind such incidents was to register protest against a particular section of the society.
Around 106 out of 173 incidents reportedly occurred when affected parties held protests.
Political science professor SK Dwivedi, however, says the trend reflects the flaws of the caste-based political system that is infecting society.
He says the trend is dangerous and people are getting involved in such acts to get political mileage by insulting and targeting the statues of icons.
According to the police, the second common reason behind statue installations is land grabbing. At least 38 incidents show the intent to install a statue to be land or property grabbing. There have been some incidents in which the dalits themselves damaged the statues of the icons to frame their rivals in criminal cases.
Former DGP KL Gupta says, “The trend of erecting statues has increased and so has increased the act of demolishing and damaging it.” This trend was not pronounced when he was the state police head during1999- 2000, he says and adds such incidents were then dismissed as nothing as they had no political links to keep them alive.
The politicisation of statues gradually turned the political warfare from direct confrontation to the attacks on the iconic symbols by political rivals.
This inflicted greater damage to the opponent as it immediately drew media attention, triggered genuine protests by those who identified with the icon and worked as an effective pressure tactics to make the party in power buckle under pressure.