Ambedkar statue damaged in Tamil Nadu, Dalit outfits protests

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MADURAI: Tension prevailed at Avaniyapuram as a statue of B R Ambedkar was found with minor damages on Friday morning. 

The index finger and thumb of the right hand of the statue were broken. The spectacles, which were made of iron, was also damaged. The people who spotted the damages on Friday morning reported the matter to the police. Similar incident happened in Punjab on 14/06/2015.

Functionaries from various dalit outfits thronged the spot when the information reached them. They blocked the road for a few minutes and raised slogans demanding safety for the statue and the early arrest of the miscreants. 

A large number of police personnel were posted to prevent any untoward incident. 

Police said outfits like Aathi Tamizhar Peravai, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal, Puratchi Puligal and Tamizh Puligal gathered at Madurai Municipal Colony in Avaniyapuram. However, after the intervention of city police, they withdrew the blockade. 

Following the incident, protests were held in Melur and Tirumangalam. People belonging to different outfits raised slogans against the incident in front of the Madurai bench of the Madras high court. 

The city police said a case has been registered under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, and they were searching for the miscreants. 

Avaniyapuram police inspector Sethu Mani Mathavan said police have assured that the demands of the functionaries of the Dalit outfits will be fulfilled. Also, they have started to restore the statue, install CCTV camera and provide lights, he said. 

The Ambedkar statue, installed by the state government, was opened several years ago, when Kakkan was a minister of the state. 

Police said this was not the first instance of desecration of statues. Such incidents have taken at least three times place in the recent years. Police sources said there were 22 statues in Avaniyapuram police limit, of which 12 are Thevar statues, three are Ambedkar statues, five Marudhupandiar statues and one is a Periyar statue.

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