Members of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM), led by BR Ambedkar’s grandson Prakash Ambedkar, allegedly tried to forcefully enter the premises of Siddarth college at Flora Fountain in south Mumbai on Friday, triggering a clash with the trustees and the police.
When the police was summoned, Ambedkar’s supporters allegedly fought a pitched battle with them, prompting a mild lathi-charge. Eleven persons, some of whom were policemen, suffered minor injuries and were taken to JJ hospital for treatment, while 51 of Ambedkar’s supporters were arrested for rioting.
The Azad Maidan police said the situation spiralled out of control at around 1pm after a 350-strong mob led by Ambedkar tried to enter the college premises to take control of the People’s Education Society trust, which runs the college. The trustees opposed their entry and tried to stop them at the gate, after which the supporters staged a rasta roko. The police were informed when the situation turned violent.
The society was earlier run by Dr Ambedkar's son, who died in 1977, the BBM said, alleging that it was later taken over by individuals who were running the college for their “personal gains”. The BBM also alleged that one of the family members of Ambedkar has to be a member of the society, a rule which was “not being followed”.
The police said that when they reached the spot, the mob retaliated, following which they resorted to a minor lathi-charge. Cherring Dorje, deputy commissioner of police (zone I), said, “We have arrested 51 persons — 36 men and 15 women. The protestors also targeted the police, in which eight policemen bore minor injuries.”
The FIR, however, does not mention Ambedkar. The police said that he was not at the site when the mob went berserk, and hence his name was excluded.
Those arrested have been booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for rioting and deterring public servants from performing their duty. The accused, produced in a local court, were released them on cash bond of Rs. 5,000 each.