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Damage-control rush after Mayawati statue is damaged

Akhilesh Yadav acts within hours of little-known outfit vandalising former CM’s statue.

Written by RAMENDRA SINGH | Lucknow | Published: July 27, 2012 4:05:23 am

ALACRITY: Akhilesh acts within hours of little-known outfit vandalising former CM’s statue; Sec 144 imposed across UP

Within eight hours of a statue of former chief minister Mayawati being decapitated at the Ambedkar Memorial in Lucknow’s Gomti Nagar area on Thursday afternoon,the UP government began work on replacing the damaged statue.

A team of police and administration officials,led by Lucknow District Magistrate Anurag Yadav,reached the site with another statue at 9 pm — less than an hour after BSP leaders,including party general secretary Naseemuddin Siddiqui,staged a protest outside the Assembly. The process of removing the damaged statue was continuing till late night.

The new statue,which is of the same size as the damaged one,was coincidentally found lying at the Sangeet Natak Akademi where it was left by the Rajkiya Nirman Nigam after it was not installed at the Kanshiram Green (Eco) Garden.

The statue of Mayawati was damaged by a group of motorcycle-borne men shortly after 1 pm — just minutes after a little-known organisation,Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena,threatened to demolish the BSP supremo’s statues if they were not removed by the state government within 72 hours.

Addressing a press conference,outfit’s chief Amit Jani,claiming to belong to the Samajwadi Party,also alleged that fake cases were lodged against innocent people under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act during the Mayawati regime.

Four young men armed with Damage-control rush after Maya statue is damagedhammers reached Ambedkar Memorial and struck a white marble statue of Mayawati,breaking its head and some other parts.

Jamuna Prasad,a guard of the memorials protection force,said he saw two men in red caps fleeing the spot on two motorbikes waiting for them.

The police found two rucksacks,one hammer,and some handbills of UP Navnirman Sena from the spot. The handbill said the SP had promised to destroy Mayawati’s statues but was not doing so now. The police cordoned off the area and heavy force was deployed.

As the news spread,Leader of Opposition Swami Prasad Maurya and BSP state president Ram Achal Rajbhar arrived. BSP supporters shouted slogans against Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh.

Maurya demanded that the statue be restored immediately by the government,else “crores of Dalits might take law and order in their hands’’. He added he had restrained his party cadres not to indulge in violence and wait for the government’s response — on Mayawati’s instructions. He said those involved should be arrested promptly and booked under the National Security Act. Maurya and Rajbhar left the spot after Lucknow DM Anurag Pandey assured that the statue would be restored soon.

BSP workers held demonstrations across the state during the day. In Mathura,the protesters burnt some vehicles. The government invoked section 144 of the CrPc across the state and ordered district magistrates to restrict movement of people in groups this evening.

Principal Secretary (Home) RM Srivastava said the DMs have been asked to take preventive action under section 144 and not allow gathering or a procession in sensitive areas. The intelligence units are also keeping a watch on mischievous elements.

The police lodged an FIR at Gomti Nagar Police station against unidentified persons on charges of promoting enmity between different groups,committing deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings,and violation of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act on a complaint given by Ram Bachan Ram,a guard of memorials protection force.

Later,the police detained freelance journalist Alok Srivastava,his son Arpit and Vishal Mishra,owner of a PR firm,which had organised Jani’s press conference. Arpit said he had merely booked a room in the name of his father after Jani contacted him and said he wanted to hold a press conference. He said he was not aware of Jani’s agenda.

Lucknow SSP Ashutosh Pandey said they were searching for Jani and his associates.

Police seized the copies of a press release distributed by Jani that were left near the destroyed statue of Mayawati.

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