The motto of the People’s Education Society (PES), founded by Father of the Indian Cons-titution, BR Ambedkar, in 1945, is ‘knowledge and compassion’.
But on Friday, as a group of Dalit activists led by Ambedkar’s grandson, Prakash, tried to force their way into Siddharth College, one of the 30 institutions run by the PES across Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka, compassion became the first casualty. The incumbent trustees opposed their entry and called in the police. A pitched battle followed by a police lathicharge at the Fort college left 11 men injured.
There has been a dispute in the PES over Prakash Ambed-kar’s membership of the board. Since 2010, Prakash has been trying to “reclaim his rightful place” in the PES in line with a charity commissioner’s order upholding his membership. “The order has to be implemented,” Prakash said.
However, other members of the governing body claim Prakash’s membership is invalid. “They are trying to create a parallel governing body and no order has upheld this,” said Krishna Patil, assistant secretary, PES.