Two Bhim Army supporters, Rakesh and Neeraj, vandalised an Ambedkar statue at Sikheda village under Inchauli police station of Meerut district during night of 4 September. The vandalism had caused major protests in the village the next day.
SHO of Ganganagar, Ravi Chandraval, told media that police have arrested the duo who confessed that they broke the Ambedkar statue so that it could be replaced with a new one as the old one was partly damaged. They have also admitted their association with Bhim Army. The third accused, Sonu is absconding.
On the morning of 5 September, Sikheda villagers started protesting and creating ruckus after they found the Ambedkar statue upside down and broken. It was Rakesh & Neeraj who were leading the protest to demand a new statue be installed. However, police and administrative officers re-installed the old statue as the dispute over the matter was in court.
According to SP (rural) Avinash Pandey, Rakesh and Neeraj attended a Bhim Army meeting where it was decided that the old statue would be smashed so that administration had no option but replace it with a new one. The new Ambedkar statue had already been brought 4 months earlier and kept hidden in the village.
However, the conspiracy failed when an eyewitness told police that miscreants had come by an auto-rickshaw late at night. Using the auto-rickshaw registration number and call details, police was able to hone in on the accused.
The Ambedkar statue at Sikheda village was partly destroyed for the first time in 1995. At the time a case had been filed against 38 people, and the land where the statue is situated has been under legal dispute since. Later on, a compromise was reached that statue would remain covered and anyone trying to disrupt the status quo and create a law and order problem would face strict action.
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