Friday, April 15, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Ambedkar statue pulled down, rioting in Rajkot

Ambedkar statue pulled down, rioting in Rajkot
Published: Friday, Apr 15, 2011, 11:33 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Rajkot | Agency: DNA

An incident in which a statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was vandalised
in Morbi road area of Rajkot sparked violence in the city and also led
to large scale protest by Dalits. An FIR has been lodged against eight
people belonging to the minority community.

"The B division police have lodged a complaint against some people
following the incident and are investigating the matter," said, Geetha
Johri, Rajkot Police Commissioner.

Talking about the incident, she said that on Thursday some people
pulled down a newly installed statue of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. "The
incident happened at 11 in the morning and the statue was installed by
residents of Gandhi Vasahat to celebrate the birth anniversary of Dr.
Ambedkar," she said. Vinod Parghi, a resident of Gandhi Vasahat of
Morbi road area lodged a complaint with the B division police against
Mohammad Karim, Abraham, Sattar and few others, all residents of
Khatkiwad which is opposite to Gandhi Vasahat.

Parghi alleged in the complaint that people from Khatkivad had
vandalised the statue of Dr. Ambedkar to avenge a scuffle that had
taken place between one Nilesh Makwana and residents of Khatkivad. The
scuffle had happened a week ago and a complaint was later lodge by

The residents of Gandhi Vasahat also gave a memorandum to police
commissioner about the same. According to police sources, Dalit
residents of Gandhi Vasahat first installed the statue on Thursday
morning and then took out a rally to celebrate Ambedkar Jayanti.

But when they returned from the rally, they found the statue lying on
the ground few meters from the podium. Soon a crowd of Dalits gathered
and began stone pelting on Khatkiwad, a minority dominated colony.

The enraged mob also set tyres and other materials on fire. The police
lobbed three tear gas shells to disperse the mob. Police convoy and
fire brigade rushed to the spot.

Mayanksinh Chavda, DCP, also tried to cool tempers and promised Dalit
leaders that they will take immediate action against those involved in
the incident. Additional police force was deployed in the area to
prevent any untoward incident.

Soon news about the same spread and Dalits across the city came out on
roads to protest the same. But police managed to control the
situation. Policemen were also deployed in sensitive areas of the
city. Some reports said that police had also detained 25 youth from
Gandhigram area who were protesting against the incident. But no
official confirmation on the same was available.

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