Around 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning, a day before the poll results were to be announced, the Ambedkar statue was shifted from behind the barricades of the Namma Metro construction site to the lawn on the left of the Vidhana Soudha.
The contentious issue on the shifting of the statue, amid stiff resistance from a section of Dalit rights groups, was resolved after three continuous days of consultations between activists (who had filed a petition in the High Court) and representatives of various government departments. The statue was shifted by around 70 feet, across the road that separates the Vidhana Soudha compound from the current construction site.
Several Dalit leaders and senior government officials were present at the venue when the statue was shifted. Buddhist monks also attended the ceremony.
The High Court had directed that the statue be moved temporarily, and be restored to its original location, giving Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd., eight weeks’ time to complete the work. The court had earlier taken exception to the decision to leave the statute hanging mid-air during construction.
An official spokesperson for the BMRCL said that it would stick to the deadline of two months and was committed to completing the work. “The High Court order provides us two months. It should be sufficient for us to facilitate work of the statue restoration to its original location,” the spokesperson said.
Mavalli Shankar of the Dalit Sangharshana Samiti, a bitter critic of the move, said: “We sat down with the government and worked out the location. We will be monitoring the progress and if the statue is not shifted within the stipulated eight weeks, we will move the High Court again,” he said.