HC wants Ambedkar's statue to be shifted

In a much needed relief to the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the State to shift the statue of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar installed in front of Vidhana Soudha, which has been causing obstruction for the ongoing Metro station construction here.

Hearing a public interest litigation filed by a city-based advocate and party in person A V Amarnathan, the division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna has directed the State government to shift the statue temporarily within 15 days.

“Continued presence of the statue at the location can endanger the statue itself. We direct to remove the statue of Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar within 15 days and ensure that no damage is caused to it,” the bench said.

The bench stated that the relocation will be temporary and directed the State government to shift it to a proper site within the vicinity of Vidhana Soudha.

During the hearing, the petitioners submitted that there are news reports stating that the work of ‘Namma Metro’ has been delayed due to delay in shifting the statue. To this, the bench said, “How can you not shift the statue ? Haven’t the statues of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru  and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose been shifted?”

When the government counsel said that it will be shifted soon, the bench said, “The shifting is in the interest of the statue. If it is in the public interest, the statue should be removed temporarily,” the bench observed. When contacted about the High Court directive on shifting of the Ambedkar statue to facilitate Namma Metro works, BMRCL MD N Sivasailam said he is yet to get confirmation about the exact directive from the court on the statue issue. “We will comment once we get the copy of the directive,” he said. 

Members of the Karnataka Dalit Sangarsha Samiti (DSS), who had raised objections for the shifting of the statue, said since the directive was from the court they need to consult their legal advisors before initiating any action. Lakshminarayana Nagawara, convener, DSS, said a meeting will be held on Thursday with other members of the association to decide on the further course of action. “We don’t have confidence in the government that it would replace the statue in its original place once the Metro work gets over,” he added.

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