BANGALORE — Hundreds of Dalit youths took to the streets in Mysore near here protesting against the reported removal of a portrait of Dr B.R. Ambedkar from the Deputy Chief Minister’s cabin in Vidhana Soudha, the State Secretariat, soon after BJP leader B.S. Yediyurappa assumed charge.
Angry activists belonging to various Dalit organisations in Mysore began gathering near Ambedkar Circle in Mysore on Saturday evening and rumours began flying thick and fast that the new deputy chief minister had ordered the removal of framed photographs of Ambedkar and late prime minister Indira Gandhi that hung across the office.
The activists also stoned a bus belonging to a state-undertaking transport service in Mysore to give vent to their anger over the ‘insult’ to the Dalit leader. Despite a ban imposed on burning of effigies by the local police, the angry crowd burnt an effigy of Yediyurappa. The Dalit organisations have demanded a public apology from the deputy chief minister. They also urged Chief Minister Kumaraswamy to drop Yediyurappa from the ministry or himself resign from the post, owing moral responsibility for the lapse.
Dalit outrage against Yediyurappa came within a day after he was sworn in as the deputy chief minister to provide the BJP its first-ever chance to assume the reins of power not just in Karnataka, but entire South India. Meanwhile, Yediyurappa told reporters in Bangalore yesterday that efforts were being made to create an atmosphere of ‘mistrust’ among the Dalits and minorities of the State towards the BJP.
He cautioned party workers to remain vigilant against the efforts underway to create communal tension in the State by vested interests so that the BJP could be blamed. "You should be vigilant on this score," he cautioned his party workers.