Phagwara (Punjab): A statue of B R Ambedkar was allegedly vandalised by some unidentified persons today, triggering off protests by members of the Dalit community who blocked traffic on the Phagwara-Hoshiarpur road. The statue of the Dalit icon and father of the Indian Constitution, which was installed at the Palahigate Mohalla park, was found damaged this morning. SHO Paramsunil Singh Randhawa said that a case under Section 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class) of IPC was registered against unidentified culprits who had vandalised the statue.
He said some suspects were being rounded up for questioning.
“Arrest will be made after investigation,” he said. The protesters gathered at the Guru Ravidas gurdwara and from there marched towards Hoshiarpur road demanding arrest of the culprits, replacement of the damaged statue, security of other statues of Dr Ambedkar installed at various places in the city.
Another traffic blockade was held at Bhullarai chowk by the Dalits led by Surinder Dhanda, President, Punjab Ambedkar Sena to demand arrest of the vandals.
Punjab Ambedkar Sena leaders Mool Nivasi and Harbhajan Suman, BSP councillors Ramesh Kaul and Purnima and former State BSP General Secretary Jarnail Nangal were among those who took part in the protest.
The dharna was lifted after Phagwara DSP Manpreet Singh Dhillon gave an assurance that their demads would be looked into.
Suman said they would call for a Phagwara bandh on Wednesday if the culprits were not arrested by Tuesday. Local MLA Som Parkash, who visited the site of the incident, flayed the vandalisation of the statue.