Now Ambedkar Statue Vandalised in UP's Meerut

The latest act of vandalism comes after a series of such incidents, triggered by the toppling of Lenin's statue in Tripura, broke out across the country.

New Delhi: The spree of statue vandalisation continues unabated.

Following the toppling of statues of Lenin, Periyar and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, now a statue of B.R. Ambedkar has been vandalised by unidentified miscreants in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut late Tuesday night, according to media reports.

Enraged by the vandalisation, members of Dalit community blocked the Meerut-Mawana road even as officials sought to calm the protestors, assuring them of replacing the vandalised statue. Officials later informed that a new statue of Ambedkar had already been installed.

“We have asked the villagers to lodge an FIR in this connection. Stern action will be initiated against the culprits,” circle officer U.N. Mishra told the Hindustan Times.

Sub divisional magistrate Ankur Srivastava said the statue had been replaced and that additional police force were deployed to ensure any confrontation. “Fencing will be done around the statue to stop recurrence of such incidents,” he said.

Local residents of the area however said that this was not the first incident of vandalisation. They alleged that Ambedkar’s statue had been vandalised once before on August 4, 2017, and was replaced then as well.

A second Ambedkar statue was reportedly damaged on March 5 in Aligarh, leading to protests that subsided after the police lodged an FIR against the miscreants.

The latest act of vandalising Ambedkar’s statue comes after a series of such incidents has broken out across the country, with miscreants defacing statues and busts of different iconic personalities. The vandalising spree began after BJP supporters brought down Lenin’s statue in Tripura’s Belonia, in the wake of the party’s massive electoral victory on March 3.

In less than 48 hours of the vandalisation, similar incidents place in other parts of the country. A bust of Jana Sangh founder S.P. Mukherjee was vandalised in Kolkata on Wednesday following. Around the same time, A bust of Dravidian movement founder E.V. Ramasamy “Periyar” was also desecrated in Tamil Nadu’s Tirupattur, triggering widespread protests across the state.

Media reports informed a group of Left-wing students was behind vandalising S.P. Mukherjee’s bust in south Kolkata. The students allegedly walked to the Keoratala crematorium, where the statue is installed, and chipped away the right ear and eye of the bust with a hammer. They reportedly shouted slogans against razing Lenin’s statue in Tripura.

Kolkata police commissioner Rajeev Kumar tweeted saying seven people had been arrested at the spot and strong action would be taken against them. The police said four of the students were from Jadavpur University, reported the Hindustan Times. All of the accused are in police custody now.

Following this incident, Trinamool Congress minister Sovandeb Chatterjee said, “we won’t tolerate it (such acts) on the soil of Bengal. We have suffered a lot at the hands of CPI(M) supporters, but we never dreamed of vandalising statues of Lenin.”

On Tuesday, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee strongly condemned razing Lenin’s statue in Tripura.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too has condemned the incidents of vandalism and assured that “stern action” would be taken against those found guilty.

PM Modi has spoken to Union home minister Rajnath Singh about the incidents. The home minister has asked all states to ensure those found destroying statues are dealt with strictly. He said such acts of vandalism can never be justified. Singh has sent out an advisory to states on Wednesday asking them to “promptly investigate” all the attacks. The government’s statement asked states “to make district magistrates and senior superintendents of police personally responsible” for law and order,” reported the Hindustan Times.

BJP president Amit Shah termed the desecrations as “extremely unfortunate” in a tweet and said that the BJP does not support the bringing down of anybody statues. In another tweet he said that the party would launch serious action against any BJP member found destroying statues.

Earlier today, news agency ANI reported two more incidents. Unidentified miscreants had poured paint on a bust of Ambedkar in Chennai last night. And in Kerala’s Kannur, a Mahatma Gandhi statue was damaged on Thursday morning, when an unidentified person threw stones at the statue. He later reportedly broke the spectacles on the statue and threw away a garland.

With PTI inputs

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