Defiled Ambedkar statues spark clash
TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 02.11AM IST
AMALAPURAM: Tension prevailed in Amalapuram town and surrounding areas
following the desecration on Monday of Ambedkar's statues by
unidentified persons. Clashing groups pelted stones at each other when
a large number of dalit youths tried to close shops run by Kapus
leading to a war-like situation in the town. Police intervened,
clamped section 144 and rushed additional forces to bring the
situation under control.
Trouble began when, in the morning, locals found Ambedkar statues at
Bandaveedhi in Peruru, Nalla Vantena, Chindada Garuvu, Chitti Garuvu
and Rallapalem areas defaced and desecrated. All statues of Ambedekar
within 2 km radius of the town had either been defaced, damaged or
thrown to the ground. The statue at Bandaveedhi was found in a drain
but the one at Rallapalem went missing altogether.
The news spread like wildfire and, soon, leaders and activists of
various dalit organisations had assembled in large numbers to stage a
roadblock, leaving scores of vehicles stranded on either side of the
main road for over two hours.
They tried to enforce a 'bandh' by forcibly shutting down shops, but
were opposed by the Kapus who appealed for calm. A few dalit youth,
however, hurled lathis at the shops which incensed the shopkeepers who
then replied by hurling stones. It was a free for all soon as both
groups rained stones at each other. This went on for close to an hour
as cops stood aside as mute spectators.
"A large number of shops are those belonging to members of the Kapu
community; they could not digest the fact that their shops were
targeted," A Sekhar of Nalla Vantena area, said. With the situation
spiralling out of control, additional forces had to be brought in from
nearby areas and from Kakinada. Sniffer dogs, too, were pressed into
service. District SP Trivikram Varma said stern action would be taken
against the culprits following an inquiry into the matter.
It was learnt that additional DG Krishna Raju has been appointed to
head the investigation into the desecration of the statues.
The development came 24 hours after Amalapuram MP Harsha Kumar's
broadside against Ghulam Nabi Azad for not recognizing the 'services'
of the dalit community who, he said, formed a major vote bank for the
Dalit activists had damaged several houses belonging to the Kapu
community when an Ambedkar statue was damaged in Rallapalem before the
2009 assembly elections.
Dalit groups tried to enforce a 'bandh' by forcibly shutting down
shops, but were opposed by the Kapus. A few dalit youth, however,
hurled lathis at the shops which incensed the shopkeepers who then
replied by hurling stones. This went on for close to an hour as cops
stood aside as mute spectators.
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