Ghaziabad court shut after protests over Ambedkar statue

Ghaziabad, Jan 2 : The Ghaziabad court was shut on Tuesday following noisy protests by a section of lawyers protesting against the removal by police of a statue of Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar from the court compound.

The court’s functioning came to a halt as the deployment of security forces was so massive that litigants were sent back from the main gate.

A majority of Dalit lawyers and several members of the public placed an Ambedkar photo at the site where the statue stood and staged a demonstration, said Surendra Rathi, a former President of the Ghaziabad Bar Association.

Police said that on the night of December 31 some members of the Bar Association installed the statue, taking other lawyers by surprise when the court opened on January 1.

Some lawyers urged the police to remove the statue installed without proper formalities. This was done at night, leading to scuffles between police personnel and lawyers.

“The approval of the district administration was a mandatory formality which was not sought prior to the statue’s installation,” said Additional District Magistrate Gyanendra Singh.

Bar Association President Rakesh Kakra said the Association had passed a resolution earlier to install the statue. “The police have harshly insulted the maker of the Constitution.”

But fellow lawyer Rathi demanded to know why it was put up stealthily at night, and alleged that this was done with a view to lure Dalit votes in upcoming Bar election.

Police later booked several people, including Kakra, under Indian Penal Code’s section 447 (criminal trespass) and under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.