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Bharatpur administration keeping tight vigil after flare up over statues | Ground report

By Dev Ankur Wadhawan: The Bharatpur police and district administration have been keeping a tight vigil on the situation that developed in the aftermath of arson, heavy stone pelting and sporadic protests over the installation of statues of Maharaja Surajmal and BR Ambedkar.

The Scheduled Caste and the Scheduled Tribe community of Bharatpur have been demanding that a statue of BR Ambedkar be installed at the Bellara village intersection. The demand was being backed by Congress leader and MLA Joginder Awana, who claimed that the proposal was cleared by the district administration.

On the other hand, members of the Jat community, which considers Maharaja Surajmal a revered figure, had been demanding a statue of him at the same place.

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On Wednesday night, arson, sporadic protests and stone pelting took place at some places around the disputed site, after which heavy police deployment was ensured by the district police. An appeal for peace and calm was made by the district administration.

Vishvendra Singh, a cabinet minister in the Ashok Gehlot government and considered to have a considerable sway in the Jat community, appealed to the members of the community to maintain peace and calm and not let the situation spiral out of control.

A meeting of community leaders was held at the Divisional Commissioner’s office in Bharatpur, after which Joginder Awana mentioned that the installation of Ambedkar’s statue, planned for Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14, has been postponed given the volatile situation that arose out of Wednesday’s protests.

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“Given the disruption of peace by anti-social elements, it has been decided that the decision to install Ambedkar’s statue on Ambedkar jayanti has been cancelled. The installation will take place at another time,” Awana told India Today TV.

Six people were arrested in the case and the police have planned heavy deployment in the area on Ambedkar Jayanti.

“We had been alert earlier. We are more alert now due to this incident. We will ensure heavy deployment on Ambedkar Jayanti,” Gaurav Shrivastava, IG, Bharatpur range, told India Today TV.

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