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Ambedkar Jayanti observed; protests, tensions in Punjab, UP

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Protests and tensions in parts of and Uttar Pradesh, and a political slugfest marked the today, a day top leaders, including Ram Nath Kovind, and paid tributes to the icon on

Kovind became the to visit the birthplace of the architect of the Constitution in Madhya Pradesh's Mhow to pay homage on the occasion.

Kovind urged people to follow the path of peace, harmony and brotherhood shown by Ambedkar.

His statement assumes significance in the backdrop of the April 2 nationwide bandh, which saw large-scale violence in several states, including where more than half a dozen people lost their lives.

"The society needs 'samrasta' (harmony) today and not 'samar' (conflict or war)...It needs non-violence and peace," he said at a function in Mhow, where the government has built a large memorial dedicated to Ambedkar.

Kovind said, "The country saw 13 presidents before me. I came to know I am the to visit Ambedkar's birthplace on the occasion of "

Modi, who was in Jangala in on a day's visit, said Ambedkar has given a Constitution that protects the rights of weaker sections of the society and appealed to people not to join Naxals to achieve their goals.

The said awakening among the poor and backward sections about their rights, hopes and aspirations was due to Ambedkar, and attributed his own success to the legendary social reformer.

Modi said, "A son of a poor mother, belonging to a very backward community, this partner of yours is if today the prime minister, that is too due to Babasaheb Ambedkar."

In a tweet, said, "Paying rich tribute to on His thoughts and struggle will keep inspiring us in our struggle to bring equality, human dignity and social justice in the society".

said the BJP can inaugurate as many memorials as they like, "but the fact is that they are reducing sub-plans, financial allocations".

"You are robbing them of their scholarships, you are participating in conspiracies to dilute their reservations and then you are shedding crocodile tears in the name of Dalits," he said.

The M K alleged that the BJP-led Centre was hampering Ambedkar's ideals behind the making of the Constitution.

Coinciding with the birth anniversary of the country's first law minister, the launched a and wellness centre under the "Ayushman Bharat- National Health Protection Mission".

He also launched the Gram Swaraj scheme to empower weaker sections, tribals, women and backward people, besides the Van Dhan scheme to ensure better marketing and value addition to minor forest produce to benefit forest dwellers.

Meanwhile in Phagwara (Punjab), members of two Hindu groups and a outfit clashed, injuring four persons, with Minister today appealing for peace and ordering suspension of and in four districts.

The groups clashed last night, on the eve of Ambedkar's birth anniversary, over the installation of a board and renaming of a "chowk" (intersection) in Phagwara, the police said.

The has ordered suspension of services in Kapurthala, Jalandhar, Hoshiarpur and SBS Nagar districts to check rumour-mongering on social media, according to an official release.

In Greater Noida in UP, a statue of Ambedkar was found damaged yesterday. The incident in Richhpal Garhi village of Bisrakh came to light when the villagers spotted the damaged statue. A large police contingent was deployed in view of the tense situation.

SP (rural) Suniti Singh said a case was registered against unidentified persons for vandalism and that the guilty would not be spared.

A large number of people from nearby villages had gathered after the spread. Police, however, controlled the situation. Security has been beefed up across the state.

Singh said that the damaged statue was being replaced with a new one.

A group of Sikhs also protested outside the headquarters in against alleged atrocities perpetrated against minority communities in

In in Gujarat, members of a Dalit group "cleansed" Ambedkar's statue soon after and some BJP leaders paid floral tributes, a said, claiming that their presence had "polluted" the atmosphere.

Dalit leaders also took strong objection to the painting of the upper part of an under construction in (UP) in saffron colour.

After the new found bonhomie with its arch rival BSP, chief unveiled a statue of Ambedkar at its Lucknow office.

Among other leaders, Governor and chief ministers of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Telangana -- Devendra Fadnavis, Raghubar Das, Yogi Adityanath, K Palanisami and K Chadrasekhar Rao respectively -- also paid homage to Ambedkar.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 14 2018. 22:20 IST