A day after a statue of Dr B R Ambedkar was desecrated at Tamil Nadu’s Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district, a social media spurred protest has emerged with a twitter campaign “#1000AmbedkarRaised” gathering massive support online.
“If one Ambedkar is insulted, thousand Ambedkar’s will rise,” states the campaign.
— Ambedkar's Caravan (@AmbedkarCaravan) August 26, 2019
It was on Sunday, that the statue of Dr B.R Ambedkar was vandalised by a group belonging to Hindu Munnani, a terror outfit of RSS outside the police station in Vedaranyam.
The clashes began after an incident in which a Dalit man was injured in an accident and the vehicle belonged to a dominant Hindu community. According to reports, Pandiyan who belongs to a dominant caste while driving his SUV almost knocked down Ramachandran, a Dalit man.
An altercation followed in which Ramachandran was attacked and injured on the leg. Pandiyan fled the spot. Ramachandran’s supporters, belonging to the Dalit community, torched the SUV. Pandiyan’s supporters retaliated by vandalising the statue.
There were only two policemen at the station when the clashes broke out, they were unable to bring the situation under control. As per reports, 700 policemen were deployed in the area later. A day after the incident another Ambedkar statue was installed at the same spot.
Ambedkar’s statue has been vandalized and totally broken down by Thevar casteists at Vedaranyam today. pic.twitter.com/P6cmztJHtF
— Kiruba Munusamy (@kirubamunusamy) August 25, 2019
Police registered two cases based on two different complaints.
One of the complaints was from Rajendran, against the torching of the vehicle of his son Pandiyan. The second complaint was lodged by the VAO against desecrating of Ambedkar statue.
Responding to The Woke Journal, an officer from Vedaranyam police station said,” We have charged the Thevar group with the destruction of public property. While the SC group have been charged with attempt to murder under Section 307 of IPC.”
As many as 25, including 16 Dalits, were arrested in both cases. Police, however, did not invoke sections under Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, against the accused.
“We haven’t filed SC/ST atrocities charges yet, but might consider it today,” added the police officer.
Protests and Responses
VCK party staged protests across Tamil Nadu demanding stringent punishment against statue vandalism. More than 500 people staged roadblocks at Kallakurichi, Tindivanam, Sankarapuram, Villupuram and Chinnasalem taluks. 368 protestors were detained.
“Fascists forces wearing the mask of democratic politics have sown the seeds of poison which result in the desecration of statues of (EVR) Periyar and Dr Ambedkar,” DMK President M K Stalin said in a statement.
Responding to the incident, Makkal Needhi Maiam chief Kamal Haasan said,” Such acts of vandalism will not lead us towards progress. People who wish for a better society should stand up and profess peace.”
— Makkal Needhi Maiam | ?????? ???? ?????? (@maiamofficial) August 26, 2019
Earlier this week, 3 Ambedkar statues were vandalised in Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh.