Free Ambedkar‘s statue and bust from cage, BBAU dalit students write to VC

Dalit students of Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University (BBAU) have threatened to launch a massive agitation on campus from April 14 if the university administration does not remove the iron grills surrounding the statue and bust of Dr BR Ambedkar.

In view of the recent vandalisation of Ambedkar statues in various parts of Uttar Pradesh, the statues and busts of the dalit icon are being secured with iron grills. Authorities at BBAU Lucknow have also encaged Ambedkar’s statue and bust with an iron grill and a collapsible channel gate.

On behalf of all dalit students, Basant Kanaujiya, a research scholar of the university, has given a representation to vice chancellor RC Sobti, saying that if by April 14, the 127th birth anniversary of Babasaheb, the university does not get the iron grills removed, they will launch a massive agitation on campus.

“If the university does not remove the iron grills around Babasaheb’s statue, dalit students will be forced to do so. If in that process any untoward incident takes place, the university administration will be held accountable and responsible,” Basant said.

Dalit students of the university said they would patiently wait for the university to remove the iron grills till the eve of Ambedkar’s birth anniversary.

Kanaujiya said dalits were pained to see the statue and bust of Ambedkar, the architect of the Indian Constitution, encaged on the campus.

He said this was not the first time the university had taken such steps. In the past, the university attempted to change the logo of the university and prevented dalit students from celebrating Ambedkar’s jayanti. The varsity also changed Ambedkar Bhawan into administrative block.

According to the students, the university is spread over 256 acres and 140 retired army personnels have been recruited to guard the campus with the support of innumerable CCTV cameras. Hence, there is no need to encage Ambedkar’s statue and bust for security reasons.

Officials not willing to be named said the statue was been surrounded by an iron grill to keep trouble-makers away as any damage could lead to law and order problems.

The university administration, however, maintained that there was no threat to the statue and the step had been taken in view of maintenance work of the entire platform.

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

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