Vandalisation of Ambedkar statues a new headache for Akhilesh Yadav govt

Vandalisation of Ambedkar statues a new headache for Akhilesh Yadav govt

Vandalisation of statues of Dalit ideologue B R Amebdkar in several parts of Uttar Pradesh in the past few days has been giving sleepless nights to the state government.

Officials are finding it difficult to ensure safety of thousands of Ambedkar statues in the state.

According to officials, scores of Ambedkar statues have been vandalised by miscreants in the past fortnight across UP.

All these incidents have taken place after the activists of a little known outfit — Uttar Pradesh Nirman Sena — damaged the statue of former chief minister and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati at Lucknow last month.

Although police acted swiftly and nabbed three people, including the chief of the Sena, no arrests have been made in other cases, officials said.

“The matter threatens to snowball into a major controversy and could well turn into a law and order problem if immediate measures are not taken to ensure safety of the statues,” said an official of the state home department.

Ambedkar statues have been vandalised in Azamgarh, Jaunpur, Sultanpur, Bahraich, Etah and other districts.

“The statues which have been vandalised are situated in rural areas, especially in villages with a sizable Dalit population,” an official said.

At many places, a large number of Dalits and other outfits held protest demonstrations and blocked roads disrupting traffic. “At some places the officials were able to pacify the mob by quickly installing new statues but it is not possible everywhere,” the official added.

Safety not possible

“The problem has been compounded owing to the fact there were thousands of Ambedkar statues in the rural areas and it is practically not possible to ensure their safety,” an official said.

The government has directed district authorities to take quick and stern action against those responsible for the vandalisation of the statues.

But no arrests have been made so far.

“Such incidents only deepen the social divide. There is an urgent need to take preventive measures,” said Prof Dinesh Kumar, a retired faculty member at Lucknow University.

Last month Sena activists had vandalised a marble statue of Mayawati in the state capital. The state government quickly installed a new statue to avoid any trouble.

The BSP leaders later met state governor B L Joshi and demanded imposition of President’s rule in UP.

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