Friday, January 27, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Tension over Ambedkar statue on BBMP land

Tension over Ambedkar statue on BBMP land
Bangalore, January 26 2012, DHNS:

Situation turned tense on Markham Road, behind Garuda Mall, on
Thursday afternoon, after a group of 25 persons said to be members of
Dr B R Ambedkar Welfare Association installed a statue of the Father
of the Constitution on a piece of land owned by the Bruhat Bangalore
Mahanagara Palike.

The jurisdictional police and the Palike officials rushed to the spot
and reviewed the situation.

Additional police force was deployed to ensure that no untoward
incident occurred in the area.

The BBMP owns a piece of land measuring 100X30 on Markham Road. As a
large number of dalits reside in the area, the BBMP had allocated a
small portion of the land for the construction of the Dr B R Ambedkar
Community Hall, nearly 15 years ago.

There was a growing demand to install Ambedkar's statue on the land,
granted for the construction of the Community Hall, among the dalits
residing in the area and members of Dr B R Ambedkar Welfare
Association. Every year, the office-bearers of the Association hoist
tri-colour there on Independence Day and Republic Day.

"Despite repeated pleas, the Palike did not take any step to construct
the Community Hall. Local politicians, goons and a few vested
interests are trying to grab the land allocated for the purpose," said
members of Dr B R Ambedkar Welfare Association. In addition to this,
owners of an apartment in the area have erected sheds on the land to
house their security guards. Dalit leaders who questioned this were
assaulted, Venkataswamy, State-unit president of Samata Sainik Dal
told Deccan Herald.


Office-bearers of the Association, who secured permission on January
24 to hoist the tri-colour on the Republic Day, put up a pandal on
Markham Road Friday.

In a move to pressure the Palike to construct the Community Hall, they
decided to install Ambedkar's statue, said Venkataswamy.

"The act of installing the statue should only be seen as a desperate
bid to save the land granted by the Palike. We refuse to shift the
statue till our long-standing demand is met," he added.

The atmosphere was tense after the installation of the statue around
11:30 am. The members hoisted the flag, held a public meeting and
later dispersed. The pandal too was removed soon after. However,
police were deployed to prevent any violence, said a police officer.

Senior Palike officials and the police convened an emergency meeting
with the dalit leaders and promised the construction of the Community
Hall at the earliest.

The BBMP had sanctioned Rs 30 lakh towards the construction of a
Primary Health Centre (PHC) on its land measuring 3,000 sqft. However,
even before the construction of the PHC, the land is being usurped by
anti-social elements, said a Palike official. "The issue was raised in
the BBMP Council meeting. Joint Commissioner (East) has been directed
to clear the encroachments soon," said local corporator Shivakumar.

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