Ambedkar vandal row: Cops put up new bust
Police installed a new stone bust of Babasaheb Ambedkar in a Muzaffarnagar village on Thursday after vandalism of the old plaster-of-Paris bust on Tuesday hung the threat of caste violence over the area.
Officers said a police team had been posted at Shahbazpur Tingai village and admitted that tension still prevailed there.
Dalit residents of the village have accused an affluent caste of the vandalism.
Upkar Bawara, state president of the Dalit group Bhim Army, had threatened a state-wide movement against “such symbolic attacks on the Dalit community”.
He had alleged that more than 100 such incidents had taken place in Uttar Pradesh since Yogi Adityanath became chief minister in March 2017.
“It’s part of a well-crafted plan by a particular section of society to insult the Dalit community. What they can most easily target in the darkness of night are the sculptures of our leaders,” Bawara said.
“Hundreds of similar incidents have been reported in the state in the past two-and-a-half-years, with almost every district affected by the trend.”
Ajay Kumar, additional district magistrate, Muzaffarnagar, said the situation was tense but under control.
“We have used an iron mesh to barricade the site of the statue. We have also appealed to the people of the village to maintain peace and harmony,” Kumar said.
Local people said a bust of Ambedkar had been damaged at the same spot 10 years ago because an affluent villager didn’t like it. The Dalit community had installed a new bust at the time.
Police sources claimed a group of drunkards had attacked the first bust 10 years ago. They said these vandals had left the village in search of jobs a few years ago, and the latest outrage was probably the handiwork of another group of drunkards.
“We have been asked to identify the attackers and arrest them soon,” a local police officer said.