A scuffle broke out between civic authorities and a group in Hyderabad on Saturday over the installation of a statue of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar that was later found broken in a dumping yard, The Times of India reported.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has claimed that the group did not have the requisite permission to install the statue and that it broke while being transported to another location for storage. Activists, however, claimed that they had sought necessary clearance to install the statue outside the Hyderabad Central mall near another statue of former Chief Minister Dr YS Rajasekhar Reddy.
The incident reportedly occurred early on Saturday morning, a day before Ambedkar’s 128th birth anniversary. Civic authorities told members of the Ambedkar Statue Protection Committee – which had installed the statue, that they did not have the permission and seized the installation to relocate it to the Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy stadium in Yousufguda for storage, The News Minute reported.
The statue was taken to Yousufguda GHMC yard as the stadium was being used to store Electronic Voting Machines for the Lok Sabha elections in Telangana.
The police detained eight people who had protested against the statue’s removal from the site, The New Indian Express reported. Activist G Vinod Kumar said the group had sought permission from the government to install the statue and on receiving no response went ahead with its installation.
“The GHMC and Hyderabad police have humiliated Dr BR Amedkar on his birth anniversary by removing the statue and throwing it in the dump yard,” Kumar said. “We will intensify our stir till the government responds to the incident.”
GHMC Commissioner Dana Kishore expressed “deep regret over the unfortunate incident” and said that he had suspended the employee in-charge of the Yousufguda yard operations for relocating the statue without the necessary permission.
The Jawaharnagar police registered a case based on a complaint by the Telangana State Mala Mahanadu president. The Telangana Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Commission has demanded a detailed report from the GHMC commissioner and Hyderabad police commissioner. Authorities have appointed an Indian Administrative Services officer to conduct an inquiry into the matter.
Meanwhile, the Congress condemned the Telangana Rashtra Samithi-led state government for the incident and demanded that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao apologise and install a statue of Ambedkar at the same site.