Monday, January 23, 2012

[ZESTCaste] Cops blamed for statue row

Cops blamed for statue row

January 24, 2012

Desecration of four statues of the Dalit icon Dr B.R. Ambedkar in the
coastal town of Amalapuram and its surroundings in East Godavari
district led to severe tension between two groups on Monday. Police
resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the agitating crowds and Section
144 was clamped for one week in the town. Though the situation was
under control by evening, an uneasy calm prevailed in the sensitive
Konaseema area, which is notorious for caste rivalries.

District collector M. Ravinchandra told this newspaper that efforts
were on to install new statues on a war footing and special police
forces from the district headquarters were sent to Amalapuram to step
up vigil. Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who reviewed the
incident with Home Minister P. Sabita Reddy and director general of
police V. Dinesh Reddy, told the police to act tough against the
miscreants and restore normalcy in the area.

The state government has ordered a special enquiry by additional
director general B. Krishna Raju besides the probe ordered by district
SP Trivikram Varma, who has been camping in the town since the trouble
broke out. Several ruling party leaders including ministers N.
Raghuveera Reddy and J. Geeta Reddy and Amalapuram MP G.V. Harsha
Kumar met the Chief Minister and demanded that a CBI probe into the
desecration of the statues. An interesting twist in Monday's incident
is that the people who led the respective groups to the flash point
-G. Suresh Babu and K. Tataji (president of the local chamber of
commerce) - are staunch followers of Congress MP Mr Harsha Kumar.

The MP has been in the news since the past few days for opposing Kapu
leaders like PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana and former Praja Rajyam
chief K. Chiranjeevi being given prominence in the party. He had also
attacked AICC in-charge and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad for
ignoring the Mala community in the cabinet expansion. The local police
also came under fire for not taking the previous cases of desecration
of Ambedkar statues seriously. Though the dog squads had earlier led
police to the homes of the miscreants, the police did not arrest the

The protest over desecration of statues reached the state Secretariat
with about a dozen persons posing as parents of students of the
Hyderabad Public School gaining entry and raising slogans against the
incident. Dalit organisations have given a call to consecrate Ambedkar
statues across the state with milk.

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