Protective shields around Ambedkar‘s statue, bust on BBAU campus in Lucknow

The Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) in Lucknow has put up protective shields around a bust and a statue of the architect of the Indian Constitution installed on the campus, ostensibly after being alarmed by recent incidents of vandalisation of statues of the Dalit icon in various parts of Uttar Pradesh.

The university authorities, however, officially refused to link the iron grills that now surround the two sculptures with recent acts of vandalism. But many BBAU officials in private admit that iron grills and collapsible channel gates have been installed to keep trouble makers at bay as any damage to the structures could lead to a law-and-order problem.

The university administration said there was no threat to the structures and the steps were taken in view of maintenance works.

Iron grills put up around BR Ambedkar’s bust installed on the campus of the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University. (HT Photo )

“There has been no history of damage to the statues of any iconic leader on the campus. The statues have been surrounded with iron grills as maintenance works are in progress,” said university spokesperson Rachna Gangwar.

“It is just a coincidence that maintenance work of Ambedkar’s statue is taking place on the campus at a time when incidents of vandalism have come to the light,” she said.

Almost 50% of the students of this central university are from scheduled castes and other backward communities.

On March 7, a statue of Dr Ambedkar was damaged in a village in UP’s Meerut district. On March 31, two statues of Ambedkar were damaged in Allahabad’s Trivenipuram locality and Gohaniya village of Siddhartnagar. On April 2, another statue was vandalised in Hathras.

The incidents triggered protests by locals who demanded immediate arrest of the culprits.