Dalits 'Cleanse' Ambedkar Statue After Tributes From BJP Leaders 'Pollute' Atmosphere

| April 15 , 2018 , 10:15 IST

Dalit icon Dr B R Ambedkar's 127th birth anniversary on Saturday came at a time when the BJP is striving to display its support for the Dalit community, after facing criticisms that it does not care about Dalits.

BJP leaders paid floral tributes to BR Ambedkar's statue in Vadodara on Saturday, reportedly jostling ahead of Dalit community members who had gathered at the venue before them. As a result, members of the Dalit community 'cleansed' the Ambedkar statue before paying their own tributes, alleging that the BJP leaders had "polluted" the atmosphere.

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Thakor Solanki, the general secretary of SC/ST the Employees Union of Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, claimed that they had gathered at the Ambedkar's statue to pay their tributes before the BJP leaders.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi along with BJP MP Ranjanben Bhatt, city mayor Bharat Dangar, BJP MLA Yogesh Patel and others had arrived at the statue around 9 AM to pay their tributes. Gandhi had been in the city to attend a number of events.

"We told the police that since we had gathered there much before the BJP leaders came, it was our right to pay tributes first. However, police prevented us from garlanding the statue stating that as per the protocol, it was the mayor's right. This angered our members," Solanki said.

"The statue and the atmosphere in the GEB circle area was polluted after the arrival of Gandhi and other BJP leaders. Therefore, we cleansed Ambedkar's statue with milk and water after it was garlanded by the BJP leaders," he added.