New Delhi: The BJP government in Uttar Pradesh on Monday installed a statue of B.R. Ambedkar in a Budaun village painted saffron, unlike the usual blue.
The statue of the architect of the Indian constitution in Dugraiyya village, which was vandalised some time back, was replaced with this new one. A large number of Ambedkar statues in different parts of the country have been vandalised in recent times.
The new statue from Agra was unveiled in the presence of district police officers.
In the past, the Lal Bahadur Shastri Bhawan which houses the office of the chief minister was painted saffron and later even the Haj Committee office. Saffron is the colour representing the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Chief minister Adityanath, who himself wears saffron robes, defends the colour fetish and finds nothing wrong with it.
“Saffron colour represents purity… can someone deny the existence of the sun which is also saffron… people questioning all these are narrow-minded,” he has said many times in the past.
The opposition has criticised the move to install a saffron Ambedkar statue, saying that the BJP is ‘playing politics of colour’. “The government is busy doing politics of colour. They are busy painting buildings, boundaries, parks and so on in saffron colour. Now they are getting exposed by changing the colour of Ambedkar statue to saffron. This is not going to help them; instead people will know their intentions better now,” New18 quoted Samajwadi party spokesperson Sunil Singh Sajan as saying.
This moves comes weeks after the UP government changed Ambedkar’s name to Bhimrao ‘Ramji’ Ambedkar in all official records – which was also criticised by the opposition and several supporters of Ambedkar’s legacy, who called it an attempt to appropriate the Dalit leader.
Hours after the saffron statue was installed, ANI reported that local Bahujan Samaj Party leader Himendra Gautam responded to protests by Dalits in the region by re-painting Ambedkar’s coat blue.
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) April 10, 2018
(With IANS inputs)
Note: This article was updated with the news that the statue was re-painted blue.