New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party said the Delhi government was committed to the values of BR Ambedkar and alleged that misinformation was being spread that they were trying to pull down a statue of the Dalit icon.
Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said for the past 30-35 years, there had been a statue of Ambedkar on a piece of land in Deoli and an organisation by the name of Dr Ambedkar University used that land to run classes. In 2003, he said, the organisation was given a separate land to run classes, but the owner of it remained with the Delhi government.
"It has now been allocated for building a hospital and school, but unfortunately the V-C (vice-chancellor) of Ambedkar University is spreading misinformation that the Delhi government is trying to pull down the Ambedkar statue," Gautam said.
The minister said until the land dispute was decided, no steps would be taken on the proposal to build a school or a hospital there. He said access to the land would also be given to the institution running the existing university, adding that the information had been communicated to all.
"Despite this, the V-C of the university is continuing to make false statements on the matter and is planning to gherao the Delhi Secretariat tomorrow (Tuesday)," he said. "It's his fundamental right to do that, but it is important to call out the falsehoods and state on the record the facts in this matter."
An official of the Ambedkar University said they do not have a campus in Deoli. "We are trying to find out how our name was linked with this issue because we have only three campuses -- Kashmere Gate, Lodhi Road and Karampura," the official said.
Gautam said he had directed the education department and the sub-divisional magistrate to ensure no such statue is pulled down," "We will not allow the statue to be pulled down, we are believers in Ambedkar. We would rather step down from power than allow such a thing to happen," he added.
In another press conference, cabinet minister Satyendra Jain said some newspapers were reporting that sealing was being done in Amar Colony on the direction of the monitoring committee, but he said it cannot be done as the Special Provisions Act was applicable in Delhi.
"As per the Act, any building built before 2009 cannot be acted against till 2020. If the monitoring committee wants to undertake any demolition or take any action, it must take permission from the Supreme Court before doing so," he said.
"Sealing cannot be carried out in Amar Colony because all buildings in Amar Colony are pre-2009 and have protection under law. Not just in Amar Colony, but all parts of Delhi are covered under this," Jain said. "If sealing is carried on despite this, it will be in gross violation of the Special Provisions Act and an Act of Parliament will have no meaning left."