Kerala Govn.decides to install Ambedkar statue on Assembly Complex premises
Thiruvananthapuram, April 11 : Under compulsions out of the High Court directive issued on March 21, the CPM-led LDF Government of Kerala finally decided "in principle" to install Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's statue on the new Assembly complex premises itself.
A decision to this effect was taken by the Cabinet yesterday which directed the PWD secretary, chief engineer, design engineers and other concerned officials entrusting them with the task of submitting a detailed report on it.
This was followed by a meeting held between the SC-ST Welfare Minister, K. Radhakrishnan, and representatives of various Dalit organisations who had been agitating over the issue. In view of the Government's decision, the Dalit bodies announced withdrawal of their ongoing agitation, which gained momentum recently.
Those who participated in the discussion with the Minister were : C. K. Kuttappan (General Convenor of Reservation Protection Force), C. Govindan (President, Ambedkar Study Circle), M. A. Thankappan (General Secretary, Dr. Ambedkar Cultural and Education Society), Rev. Moses Swami Das, George Kulathammal (General Secretary, SCCA), Ebnezer Isaac (State Convenor, AICPF), Kiliyoor Thomas (State Board Member, SCCA), C. O. Rajan (Area Union Joint Secretary, KPMS), E. Rajan (General Secretary, Swathy Cultural Forum), apart from SC-ST Welfare Secretary N. Natarajn, IAS.
It is to be recalled that a Division Bench of Kerala High Court comprising Chief Justice Ms. K. K. Usha and Mr. Justice Kurian Joseph issued an interim order on March 21 directing Kerala Government not to install Dr. Ambedkar's statue "in any place other than in front of the State Assembly Complex".
The order on a writ petition filed by Vandithadam Valsarajan, Chairman of Dalit Cultural Force, Thiruvananthapuram also directed the State Government to dise off the representations requesting installation of the statue in front of the Assembly Complex within three months. The petitioner had contended that the Union Government had allotted Rs. 4 lakhs to all State Governments for installing Ambedkar statue in front of the respective Assemblies as part of the two-year-long Ambedkar Birth Centenary celebrations declared way back in 1991. (For details see earlier report on this site).
Apart from Court compulsions, the Government took the decision yesterday so as to avoid predictable protests from Dalits on Dr. Ambedkar Jayanthi on April 14 as well as an attempt to woo Dalit voters in May 10 Assembly general elections. It is to be recalled among CPM Ministers in the present LDF Cabinet, only Radhakrishnan has been given ticket to seek fresh mandate by the CPM State Committee. Radhakrishnan is contesting his native Chelakara Reservation Seat in Thrissur district, from where he was elected for the first time in 1996.