The Matunga police on Wednesday detained a suspect in connection with an incident of vandalism at 'Rajgruh’, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar's house in Dadar, on Tuesday evening.
A miscreant had entered Rajgruh and toppled over and damaged flower pots and broke some of the windows. The vandal also tried to destroy the CCTV cameras installed outside the house.
The incident was condemned by political leaders, including Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who said the state government would not spare those involved, and that he had directed the police to take stern action against the culprits. Thackeray added that the site was akin to a “pilgrimage spot” for the people of Maharashtra.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, who ordered an inquiry into the incident, said Rajgruh would get round-the-clock police protection. Talking to reporters after a cabinet meeting, Deshmukh said the state government had taken serious note of the incident. The issue was discussed in the cabinet meeting and the government has decided to provide permanent round-the-clock police protection to the premises, the home minister said.
Meanwhile, Prakash Ambedkar called on Ambedkarities to maintain calm and desist from flocking to Rajgruh. He said miscreants had tried to smash the CCTV cameras and other things. However, the police had acted immediately, and taken action with senior officials reaching the spot.
Located in Dadar's Hindu Colony, Rajgruh has been converted into a memorial and has a private library with a collection of over 50,000 books which belonged to Dr. Ambedkar, and many other artefact.
Following the incident, the Matunga police registered an offence on a complaint lodged by Bhimrao Ambedkar, the grandson of Dr. B R Ambedkar. The offence was registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections of criminal trespass (447) and mischief causing damage (427).
In his complaint to the police, Bhimrao said that the accused, around 25-30 years old, wearing blue jeans and a blue T-shirt, entered the house around 5.30 pm on Tuesday and damaged the flower pots. He then brought stones from outside and broke the windows.
In his statement, Bhimrao said that he had seen the accused outside the house in the past as well. A day prior to the attack, the accused was confronted by Bhimrao, and when asked what he was doing outside the house, the accused left in anger, Bhimrao said in his statement. He told the police that the accused seemed mentally unstable.
"On the basis of CCTV footage and other evidence, we have detained one person and his interrogation is underway," said Saurabh Tripathi, Deputy Commissioner of Police Zone 4.
Meanwhile, an RPI (A) faction held a demonstration in Wagle Estate area in Thane against the incident.