In the night of 13 April a concrete platform meant to install a Dr. Ambedkar statue next day, on his birth anniversary, in the Block administrative campus of Darauli in Siwan was demolished using bulldozer by the Block development officer himself. The installation of this platform and the statue was funded through the MLA development fund in Darauli and the whole process was duly sanctioned and approved by the administration in 2020-21 year with Rs. Ten lakhs allocated for the job. In spite of this the BDO was present there in half-pants – symbolising RSS uniform, with the JCV machine. Hundreds of people gathered immediately at the site in protest including CPIML MLA comrade Satyadev Ram. The BDO might not have expected such a crowd and he escaped for hiding inside his office. Comrade Satyadev Ram repeatedly called him to come out and talk but he did not turn up.
People captured the JCV machine which was then handed over to the police. CPIML leader in Darauli comrade Lalbahadur Singh who is also an elected Mukhiya, went to lodge an FIR with the police for deliberately damaging government property by the BDO, but this was refused by the police on the pretext that the consent from the district magistrate is needed.
This is not the first time that an Ambedkar statue was targeted in Bihar. In earlier incidents in the same district in Raghunathpur, another Ambedkar statue was painted with black ink and garlanded with footwears, and another incident happened in Babu Bhatakan where cow dung was thrown at the statue, one more incident occurred in Gheni of Chainpur where the eye-glasses were removed from the statue.
Similar incidents are being reported from other districts. In Naubatpur in Patna a statue was desecrated and dismantled in the dark of night at a place not very far from the venue of the ongoing so called religious event of one Baba Bageshwar Dham who gave an open call for building a ‘Hindu Rashtra’. (see box)
The installation of this particular statue was duly sanctioned by Darauli Panchayat Samiti through an official resolution and the money was made available. A statue was acquired for Rs. Two lakhs. On 11 April 23 a letter was sent by the BDO to Mukhiya Lalbahadur Singh that there is no permission given for the installation of the statue inside the Block office campus and if the statue was installed then he may be removed from his Mukhiya post. Anyway, this was duly replied by the Mukhiya clearing all doubts. The upper caste dominant forces in the area backed by BJP conspired to demolish the platform before the state could be installed. The BDO implemented these designs misusing his official status.
The people in the area demanded arrest of the BDO and installation of the statue as was planned and sanctioned. CPIML MLAs, Satyadev Ram from Darauli and Amarjit Kushwaha from Jiradei, along with Lalbahadur Singh met the DM on 24 April who assured to take action but no action was taken till now.
CPIML MLAs sat on a two-day hunger strike and a Mahadharna was held on 15-16 May at Ambedkar Park, Chandrashekhar Chowk. The SDO and ADM arrived at the protest site at around 5 in the evening asking to lift the protest and give them 24 hours to take action, although days have passed and nothing is done in this regard. The senior CPIML leader and ex-MLA Amarnath Yadav concluded the two-day fast in the evening of 16 May after serving juice to the protesters. He declared that the agitation will continue till the castiest erring BDO is booked.
A mass campaign for justice, with nukkad meetings and distribution of thousands of pamphlets, is evoking huge response from the common people. A big mass mobilisation is also being planned if the district administration remains recalcitrant and callous.