After Lenin’s statue in Tripura and Periyar’s statue in Tamil Nadu, now Bhimrao Ambedkar’s statue has been demolished in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh. Ambedkar is regarded as a prominent Dalit icon and the architect of the Indian constitution.
Police in Uttar Pradesh said on Wednesday that the Ambedkar’s statue was demolished in the state’s Mawana adding that a case had been filed against unknown people. The cops also added that a new statue of Ambedkar had been installed at the same place.
This comes after a group of BJP supporters demolished a statue of Lenin in Tripura soon after the saffron party won a historic mandate in the Left-ruled state. Several BJP leaders including the Tripura governor, Tathagata Roy and the party’s north-east in-charge, Ram Madhav, had expressed joy on the demolition of Lenin’s statue.
Hours later, a senior BJP functionary in Tamil Nadu, H Raja, had called for the demolition of Periyar’s statue.Periyar was a famous social reformer, who had launched the Self-Respect Movement and founded one of the first Dravidian political outfits, Dravidar Kazhagam. Although, Raja deleted his social media post amidst condemnation and calls for his arrest, Periyar’s statue was damaged in Vellore the same night.
The vandalism mania then reached West Bengal, where a group of Jadavpur University students blackened the statue of Shyama Prasad Mookerji, the founder Jan Sangh. Police in Kolkata were quick to arrest at least seven students for their alleged involvement in damaging the statue of SP Mookerji.
Although, a statement by the MHA said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his displeasure on the demolition of statues in Tripura and Tamil Nadu, the latter has not tweeted about this yet. Meanwhile, BJP President Amit Shah took to Twitter disapproving the acts of vandalism.
Critics say that vandalism is synonymous to the Hindutva groups particularly in light of their infamous act of demolishing the 16th century Babri Mosque on 6 December 1992. Babri Mosque’s demolition had triggered nationwide riots killing hundreds of people, mostly Muslims. The perpetrators of the crime continue to evade the law.
Many people are now beginning to draw a parallel with what’s happening in India and the Afghanistan’s erstwhile Taliban rule, when the famous Buddha statue was brought down by religious fanatics.