Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Protest against desecration of Ambedkar statue

HASSAN

The police resorted to mild lathi-charge today to disperse a crowd which started throwing stones in protest against the desecration of Dr B R Ambedkar’s statue in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

In the process, an autorickshaw was damaged and three persons were injured, eye-witnesses said. The protesters took out a demonstration from Siddayyanagar here to N R Circle and held a road blockade there. Demanding that a bronze statue of Dr Ambedkar be installed in the City, they condemned the anti-Dalit policies of the government.

Dalit leaders held a road blockade for nearly four hours near Shantigram on the B M National Highway. Dalit activists in the Ambedkar extension of Belur town also held a protest to condemn the incident.

Yesterday, tension prevailed in Hassan city following the desecration of the statue. The statue was damaged after the miscreants allegedly pushed it down from the pedestal.

Speaking to reporters, Deputy Commissioner L K Atheeq said as soon as he received the news, he rushed to the spot and inspected the area. Since the statue was kept on a pedestal, it was easy for the miscreants to push it down, he said and assured that the guilty would be put behind the bars as soon as possible.

As soon as the news of the desecration spread, various Dalit organisations, activists of Rajya Raitha Sangha and the Dr Rajkumar Abhimani Sangha staged protests and road blockades. The protesters who arrived in a procession to the deputy commissioner’s office requested him to nab the miscreants. Superintendent of Police M Nanjundaswamy assured that the miscreants would be arrested at the earliest and the inquiry would be conducted by the deputy superintendent of police himself.

DECISION: Meanwhile, the decision to install a bronze statue of Dr Ambedkar was taken at the deputy commissioner’s office premises. A meeting of Dalit and progressive organisations and other officials, which was presided over by Mr Atheek, unanimously agreed to provide suitable protection to the statue and lay a garden around it.

Meanwhile, tension prevailed for some time when a group protested that the space identified for installing the statue was not suitable. Although many a Dalit leaders accepted the space allocated, one group staged a dharna till evening demanding that the statue be installed at the DC’s office premises.

Protesting against this incident today, the leaders of many Dalit organisations, along with the members, staged a rasta roko agitation at the Jagat Chowk. They demanded the immediate arrest of the miscreants involved in the Hassan incident. They also demanded adequate protection for the members of the Dalit community in the State. They also demanded that stringent laws should be framed to punish those who desecrate Ambedkar statues.

Source: Deccan Herald, August 7, 2002

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