Hours after a statue of Bhimrao Ambedkar was found damaged at a Greater Noida village on Friday morning — a day before Ambedkar Jayanti — the administration made an urgent bid to prevent any escalation in tension. The solution: replace the damaged statue with a new, “metal” statue of the Dalit icon. Deputy Superintendent of Police (Greater Noida) Anit Kumar said, “We had asked for a new statue made out of metal. It has come from Aligarh and has already reached the park. It will be installed today, in time for Ambedkar Jayanti.”
The vandalism was reported from Ambedkar Park at Richpal Garhi village in Greater Noida by residents out for a walk. “The ears and the nose of the statue were damaged,” Ajay Kumar, a resident, said. He said police arrived a little later, and covered the statue with tarpaulin.
According to senior police officers, with Ambedkar Jayanti around the corner, they had deployed a team of two policemen at the park. “But it appears that the incident took place in the early hours of the morning after the two had finished their duty and returned,” an officer said. 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.
Meanwhile, dozens of angry residents rushed to the park. Rahul Singh, a resident, said, “This is obviously an attempt to try and instigate villagers. Many are already angry with the way Dalits are being treated in the state.” 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. Later in the day, BJP district chief Lakshmi Singh also reached the spot and told reporters: “We condemn the incident and demand the immediate arrest of those involved. We have also asked residents to keep calm and help police.”
Last week, an Ambedkar statue was vandalised in UP’s Badaun district.