Hours after a statue of Bhimrao Ambedkar was found damaged at a Greater Noida village on Friday morning, the administration made an urgent bid to prevent any escalation in tension by replacing the damaged statue with a new, “metal” statue of the Dalit icon.
The vandalism was reported from Ambedkar Park at Richpal Garhi village in Greater Noida by residents out for a walk.
According to senior police officers, with Ambedkar Jayanti around the corner, they had deployed a team of two policemen at the park. On receiving information about the incident, police and officials of the district administration arrived at the spot.
“An inquiry has been initiated to identify if there was any laxity on part of the two policemen. If there was, action will be taken,” an official said.
Police said an FIR has been lodged in the case against unidentified persons, and a team from Bisrakh police station has been deployed to ensure peace.
Police sources added that they specifically requested for a ‘metal’ statue. “With rising cases of Ambedkar statues being vandalised in different parts of the country, particularly in western UP, we decided that it would be best to get a statue that is harder to damage,” a senior officer said.
A heavy police force was deployed in view of the tense situation. A large number of people from nearby villages had gathered after news of vandalism spread. Police, however, contained the mob. Singh said that the damaged statue was being replaced with a new one.
Security has been beefed up in Uttar Pradesh in view of Ambedkar Jayanti today to prevent any possible attempt at inciting violence, with political parties drawing up separate plans for the occasion. Last week, an Ambedkar statue was vandalised in UP’s Badaun district.