A statue of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar installed on government land without permission was removed by the administration and 24 people, including the district unit head and the general secretary of the Bhim Army, were arrested in this connection, police said on Tuesday. Tension had prevailed in Umra village under the Aurai police station area after a statue of Ambedkar, one of the principal architects of the Indian Constitution and Dalit icon, was installed on the gram samaj land identified by the village head for building a public toilet, they said.
On Sunday night, a large number of people belonging to the Dalit community had gathered during a programme and installed a four-feet-tall statue of Ambedkar on the land, police said. Ashish Mishra, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Aurai, said the statue was removed late on Monday night and four people were arrested from the spot.
Twenty others were arrested Tuesday morning when they tried to stage a protest, he added. Police said mild force was used to disperse the people guarding the statue Monday night.
Srikant Rai, Station House Officer of Kotwali police station, said on information about the removal of the statue, district unit head of Bhim Army Saheb Saurabh and general secretary Vinod Gautam with hundreds of supporters tried to disrupt traffic near the Tehsil campus but were chased away by policemen. As many as 20 people, including the two Bhim Army office bearers, were arrested, Rai said, adding additional police and Provincial Armed Constabulary have been deployed in the village to maintain law and order.
The lekhpal (a land revenue official) of the area has filed a case against 25 people for raising a structure on government land without permission, officials had said. All people involved in installing the statue are being identified, they had said.