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Feb 12, 2013 at 10:05am IST

Bangalore: Dalits object to removal of Ambedkar statue from Metro site, work delayed

Bangalore: A statue of BR Ambedkar is costing the Namma Metro in Bangalore nearly Rs 100 crore. Plans are on to make an alternative design and a wider pathway will be constructed around the statue. This because the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation has been forced to stop work after Dalit organisations objected against the removal of the statue. While the statues of Subhash Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru have been moved, Ambedkar's remains in the construction zone.

When BMRCL began work, they got clearance to remove three statues of Jawaharlal Nehru, Subash Chandra Bose and BR Ambedkar. AV Amarnathan, advocate and petitioner in the Ambedkar statue case, said, "Three chief ministers, BS Yeddyurappa, Sadananda Gowda and this chief minister are scared to take any action. This is not done in the interest of the public, only in the interest of very few because not only Dalits are against this, Ambedkar is a person for every Indian."

Amidst a slew of pleas at the Karnataka High Court, the government now says it will separate the statue from the pedestal and keep it suspended in an iron cage. But Dalit groups say they will take every option to ensure it isn't shifted.

V Balakrishna, Dalit Sangarsha Samithi said, "For other religions, they go to a temple, mosque or a church but for the Dalit community, Ambedkar is our god. We have a lot of sentiments and on April 14, lakhs of people come to Bangalore to pay their respects here. So we don't want this statue to be shifted."

BMRCL says work has been already delayed by six months. But with state elections around the corner, the state government is expected not take any decision in fear of a Dalit backlash.

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