Saturday, January 28, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Statues caught in Andhra turf politics

Statues caught in Andhra turf politics

Express news service Posted online: Sat Jan 28 2012, 00:49 hrs
Hyderabad : Vote-bank politics has spilled on to the streets of Andhra
Pradesh — and taking the brunt of it are the statues of Dr B R

Over the past one week, at least six incidents of damaging of statues
of the Dalit icon have been reported, mostly in East Godavari
district, forcing the state government to issue a direction on Friday
to all collectors and district police chiefs to take action to protect

The latest incident of desecration of an Ambedkar statue was reported
early on Thursday when unidentified people desecrated a statue at
Dowleshwaram near Rajahmundry, leading to tension. Dalits staged
protests and blocked highways. Two days before that, three statues of
Ambedkar were demolished in Amalapuram town.

The provocation was said to be a statement by Congress MP from
Amalapuram G V Harsha Kumar, who said that while two PRP members
belonging to Kapu community were inducted in the recent Cabinet
expansion, Dalits were ignored. In that Cabinet reshuffle, Textiles
Minister P Shankar Rao, who is from Mala community, was dropped.
Harsha Kumar's statement and allegations that Kapu leaders arm-twisted
the Congress to induct the two leaders from their community heightened
tensions between Kapus and Dalits. The attacks on statues of Ambedkar
are learnt to be in retaliation for opposing the induction of Kapus.

Police officials said while they are aware of the tensions between
Kapus and Dalits, they are also investigating the role of activists of
TDP and YSR Congress who are fighting a turf war to corner locations
where statues of their leaders — N T Rama Rao and Y S Rajasekhara
Reddy — can be installed.

"It is possible that someone is taking advantage of the tensions
between Kapus and Dalits and demolishing the statues. To avoid further
trouble, local residents may not oppose installation of statues of
other leaders alongside Ambedkar," an official said.


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