The Yogi Adityanath government has kicked up a row by issuing an order to replace a statue of Babasaheb Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar, installed at Agra Municipal Corporation (AMC), with that of saffron icon Pandit Deendayal Updhyaya.
Dalit employees and corporators of AMC are up in arms against the state government’s order. “We will not allow the authorities to replace Dr Ambdekar’s statue at any cost. It is an attempt to hurt and provoke dalit community across state,” said DVSingh, a dait corporator.
BSP too has jumped into the protest on the row over statue replacement. “It will create social unrest and the authorities must stop or be ready to face the consequences,” warned Bhartendu Arun, BSP Agra District President. The state cultural department had issued an order on April 25 responding to a letter by five-time BJP MLA JP Garg requesting the state government to replace one of Dr Ambedkar’s statue with Pt Deendayal Updhayaya.
In its order, the Cultural department Deputy Director A.K. Agarwal had also directed the Agra District Magistrate and SSP to ensure that no law and order problem arises after replacement and installation of statues. Reacting to strong objections raised by dalit corportaors and employees, the BJP MLA clarified that only one of the statue of Dr Ambedkar will be replaced that too with of Pt Deendayal Updhyaya, who worked for the upliftment of the dalit community. “It was not attempt to hurt anyone’s sentiments but to restore the pride of the dalit community by installing statues of a great social worker who always fought for the rights and dignity of dalits across country,” he told media.
Sensing trouble, the Agra Municipal Commissioner Arun Prakash, however, made it clear that the statue will be replaced only after the mayor and the coorporators pass a resolution in this regard at the Corporation House.