Dalit demands mount-up on Ambedkar statue

(Special Report)
(By Mukundan C. Menon)

"The LDF Government led by Marxist Party, which keeps the statue of Dr. Ambedkar within a sack, and who refused to take action against the culprits who destroyed 28 Sree Narayana statues, have no moral right to criticise Taliban action of destroying Buddha statues in Afghanistan", according to P. Ramabhadran, President of Kerala Dalit Federation (KDF).

Inaugurating the Ernakulam district conference of KDF at Alwaye yesterday, he likened the CPM Polit Bureau and State Secretariate criticism against Taliban action with a "whore's sermons on chastity". "The CPM has been ruling Kerala by dividing all castes, communities and religions and also by making them to fight against each other. They rejected all pleas to install the statue of Ambedkar in front of the Assembly complex. Since Ambedkar is the greatest follower of Buddhism in India, the CPM policy towards Ambedkar statue is another kind of Talibanism in Kerala", Ramabhadran said.

According to Ramabhadran, the CPM had created cultural degradation and casteist discrimination in Kerala through misuse of education department. "Out of the nearly thousand educational institutions allotted to different castes and communities, the Dalits got not a single primary school. Although qualified Dalits are available, none was appointed to 25 top positions in seven universities within the State. Even the pro-Marxist Dalit intellectual and UGC Member, Dr. M. Kunjaman, was cheated with unfulfilled false promise of Vice-Chancellorship. And, by imposing DPEP, an entire generation was turned as illiterates".

Meanwhile, different organisations had stepped-up pressures against the State Government's reluctance to install Ambedkar statue in front of the Assembly complex. The Chairperson of Kerala Dalit Panthers (KDP), Saji K. Cheraman, declared that they would undertake indefinite hunger strike from April 16 on the issue. The State President of Dalit Congress, P. C. Ratnakaran, said that the second phase of their agitation on Ambedkar statue issue will start from Wednesday (March 21) with mass hunger-strike and submission of mass memorandum to the Chief Minister. "The LDF Government, which initiated anti-Dalit policies during the past five years of its rule should maintain decency at least on Ambedkar statue issue. Being the architect of the Constitution, Ambedkar statue ought to be installed within the Assembly complex itself and not on unknown road-side as per the present decision", Ratnakaran added. He also warned the LDF Government that it cannot threaten Dalits into submission by initiating false cases against them in an attempt to scuttle the agitation.

The "Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Statue Installation Action Council" staged a demonstration to the Assembly Speaker M. Vijayakumar's official residence today (March 20) morning protesting against the Government's negative attitude. The demonstration, started from Press Club premises, was however blocked midway by the police. Inaugurating the march, KDP President K. Ambujakshan said that the LDF Government is exhibiting its anti-national policies by insulting the architect of Indian Constitution. "The very forces who opposed Freedom Movement are now publicly imposing untouchability to Dr. Ambedkar", he reminded the protesters. In his address, the Action Council Chairman and former Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, B. S. Satheesan, said that the Council would take the lead to unite all Dalit organisations for defeating anti-Dalit candidates in next month's Assembly polls.

Source: in-house
Referred by:Mukundan C Menon
Published on: March 21, 2001
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