Two cops injured in violence over Dr Ambedkar vs Shivaji welcome arch in Amravati | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Two cops injured in violence over Dr Ambedkar vs Shivaji welcome arch in Amravati

Mar 12, 2024 08:22 AM IST

Two policemen injured in Nagpur as crowd throws stones following a dispute over naming an arch after Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar or Chhatrapati Shivaji.

NAGPUR: Two policemen were injured on Monday, one of them sustained grievous injuries when a large crowd threw stones at them following a police lathicharge in Amravati, some 160 km from Nagpur.

HT Image
HT Image

The incident occurred when several villagers from Khanampur Pandhari village staged a demonstration outside the divisional commissioner’s office to request the installation of a welcome arch in honour of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. However, a faction of the villagers insisted that the arch should be dedicated to Chhatrapati Shivaji instead.

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This disagreement led to tension within the village, resulting in a group marching to the Divisional Commissioner’s office to demand the arch be named after Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. After arriving on Thursday, the divisional commissioner requested three days to consider the matter. The protestors decided to stay there for the specified duration and staged an indefinite demonstration in support of the demand.

The situation escalated when a faction of villagers strongly opposed naming the arch after Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and pushed for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj instead, prompting the imposition of a curfew until March 8. The guardian minister, Chandrakant Patil, proposed a compromise of naming the arch after both figures and pledged funds for its construction. However, the protestors insisted on a written commitment.

Subsequently, around 250 individuals from the village, all belonging to the Dalit community, held a demonstration supporting the demand for Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s name on the arch and opposing the alternative proposal. In response, the district collector, Saurabh Katiyar, issued a directive stating that no name should be assigned to the arch for the time being, with a decision to be made soon.

When the protestors refused to comply with the collector’s instructions to maintain the status quo, they became agitated and began throwing stones at the police. In retaliation, the police used tear gas and water cannons, leading to damage to police vehicles and a mild use of baton charges against the demonstrators.

Both the injured policemen were admitted to the local government hospital where one of them is reported to be serious.

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