Protests Erupt in Karnataka City After Disrespect to Ambedkar Statue

Protestors surrounded Deputy Commissioner of Police Kanika Sikriwal's vehicle at two locations, demanding the immediate arrest of the culprits.
Protests Erupt in Karnataka City After Disrespect to Ambedkar Statue
Image credit-The Hindu

Kalaburagi- Days leading to and after the Ram Mandir consecration, anti-marginalised community violence is still taking place, with the latest being in a city of Karnataka where unrest ensured after Babasaheb’s idol was disrespected.

On 23rd January, Kalaburagi city in Karnataka experienced a surge of spontaneous and widespread protests following the disrespectful act of desecrating the statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. This incident swiftly captured public attention and persisted throughout the day. As news of the desecration spread, it triggered a spontaneous outpouring of emotions, with individuals from various sections of society expressing their solidarity in condemning the disrespectful act.

The protests in Kalaburagi were primarily driven by various factions of Dalit organizations and progressive groups, who were vehemently expressing their disapproval of the disrespectful act committed against the chief architect of the Constitution, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. The catalyst for these protests was the incident that transpired at Lumbini Gardens in Kotnoor village on the city's outskirts late on Monday, on the very same fay of the inauguration of Ram mandir at Ayodhya. In this reprehensible act, unidentified individuals adorned Dr. Ambedkar's statue with a garland made of footwear.

The protest actions initiated by the community extended beyond the immediate vicinity, causing disruptions in various parts of the city. The level of intensity was palpable, as evidenced by a bike rally organized by youths. This rally also forced businesses to close their doors in response to the public sentiment.

The Mooknayak tried to get in contact with the authorities from the Kalaburagi City Police Station but in vain,

According to a report by The Hindu, as tensions heightened, the protests took a more contentious turn when some agitators resorted to violence. Stones were thrown at a petrol bunk owned by Chandrakanth Patil, who is the president of the BJP city unit. This escalation of aggression reflected the deep-seated anger and frustration among the protesters.

The unrest didn't confine itself to symbolic actions alone; it extended to the point where protesters surrounded the vehicle of Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kanika Sikriwal. Their demands were unequivocal – the immediate arrest of those responsible for the desecration. This demonstrated the seriousness of the issue and the urgency felt by the community for justice to be swiftly served.

In response to the escalating situation, Deputy Commissioner Sikriwal visited the site in Kotnoor village, paying floral tribute to Dr. Ambedkar in an effort to ease tensions. Despite these efforts, the overall atmosphere remained charged until law enforcement authorities were able to restore calm in the city by deploying forces to key locations. The incident prompted swift legal action, with a case registered at the University Police Station, and Sikriwal confirming the apprehension of two suspects for interrogation. The Mooknayak also tried to contact the IPS officer for a comment, but the phone went unanswered.

Deputy Commissioner Fouzia Tarannum also joined Sikriwal in paying respects to Dr. Ambedkar and unequivocally labelled the miscreants as anti-social elements attempting to disrupt the social fabric of the community. In assuring the public, Tarannum conveyed a commitment to taking appropriate action against those involved in the act of desecration. This public statement from authoritative figures aimed to restore a sense of order and justice within the community.

As the evening approached, police forces were deployed in various locations of the city to maintain law and order. In response to the incident, a formal case was registered at the University Police Station, indicating the initiation of a legal process to address the act of desecration.

Just a few days back, the neighboring state of Andhra Pradesh, the biggest statue of Babasaheb was revealed. On 19th January, the Andhra Pradesh government inaugurated the world's tallest statue of B.R. Ambedkar in Vijayawada. Named the 'Statue of Social Justice,' this monumental statue will stand at an impressive height of 206 feet above the ground. This places it among the top 50 tallest statues globally, with Sardar Vallabhai Patel's 'Statue of Unity' currently holding the top position. It's also noteworthy that the second-tallest statue of Ambedkar, measuring 175 feet, is located in the neighboring state of Telangana.

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