A statue of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati was damaged at the Ambedkar Park Lucknow's Gomti Nagar on Thursday by a group of men who claimed to be members of an unknown group called Uttar Pradesh Naunirman Sena.
Three persons have been detained, police said. The incident led to protests by BSP workers at a number of places in the state, including Jhansi, Ambedkar Nagar, Deoria, Muzaffarnagar and Kanpur.
"Some unidentified youths this noon damaged one of the marble statues of former CM Mayawati using hammers and then fled from the spot," a senior police officer said.
The virtually unknown outfit is headed by Meerut based activist Amit Jani.
Four men came to the park on bikes around 1.30pm carrying hammers and other tools to attack the statute, a security guard present at the park said.
The attackers rushed to the statue, broke the hands and removed the head of the statue, despite of the presence of security personnel at the park.
He added that the men fled the spot after damaging the statue.
The action coincided with a press conference by Jani which was in progress at UP Press Club where he demanded the removal of the statues of Mayawati.
Talking to reporters, Jani said Mayawati's statues in Noida and Lucknow parks were a blot.
"She ill-treated farmers, and termed great people as terrorists. She gave slogans like tilak, taraju aur talwar to tease Rajputs of the state," said Jani.
"Therefore we are pleading to the chief minister of the state Akhilesh Yadav to remove these statues else we shall do it," said Jani.
He added, "We are not giving ultimatum but pleading that these statues be removed within 72-hours to save the swabhimaan of the state."
Some media persons were also present on the spot at the time of incident.
A constable, Kedarnath Mishra, who was also on duty at the park said that he was unable to take any action because he was unarmed.
The home principal secretary RM Shrivastva, DGP SC Sharma and other senior officers rushed to the site after hearing the news. The DGP said that a state wide alert has been sounded.
Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav condemned the attack.
Reacting to incident, the chief minister directed officers to quickly repair it.
He said stern action would be taken against people involved in the crime.
The chief minister said that incident was aimed at disrupting peace, law and order in the state.
Swami Prasad Maurya, leader of the opposition BSP, who also rushed to the spot accused the state government of hatching conspiracy to damage the statute.
He said Mayawati had been apprised of the development and she has appealed to the cadre not to take law in to the hands.
The security has been tightened at all the memorials and parks in Lucknow.
The attackers also threw leaflets at the park criticising the chief minister for not removing Mayawati's statutes as promised during the election.
The organisation also demanded arrest of Mayawati.
(With additional inputs from PTI)