Mumbai: The police on Wednesday detained a suspect after a man vandalised `Rajgruh’, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s residence in Dadar in central Mumbai.
The incident, which took place on Tuesday night, evoked condemnation from political leaders including Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray who said strict action will be taken against those involved.
As per the complaint lodged by Ambedkar’s grandson Bhimrao Ambedkar at Matunga Police Station, the unidentified accused who was captured in CCTV seemed to be mentally unstable.
He had spotted the man near the house on Monday evening, Bhimrao Ambedkar told the police, an official said.
When he asked the man why he was loitering, he glared at him in anger before leaving, Ambedkar told the police.
On Tuesday night, a man entered the premises of `Rajgruh’ and smashed flower pots, damaged plants, CCTV camera and pelted stones at a window before fleeing.
A case under IPC sections 427 (mischief causing damage and 447 (criminal trespassing) was registered, the police official said, adding that the police were examining the CCTV footage and further probe was on.
Earlier it was suspected that two persons were involved, but now it was clear that it was the act of a single man and a suspect has been taken into custody, the official said.
Located in Hindu Colony, Dadar, the two-storeyed heritage bungalow houses a museum where Dr Ambedkar’s vast book collection, his ashes and other artifacts related to his life are preserved. The architect of the Indian Constitution lived there for two decades.
Current residents of `Rajgruh’ include Dr Ambedkar’s daughter-in-law and his grandsons Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar, Anandrao and Bhimrao.
Prakash Ambedkar, who was in Akola when the incident took place, appealed for calm.
Chief minister Thackeray on Wednesday said he had instructed police to take strict action against the culprits.
“The premises is not just a sacred place for Ambedkarites, but the entire society. Ambedkar preserved all his writings in this premises. This is like a pilgrimage centre for all Maharashtrians,” he said.
“The government will not tolerate insult to Rajgruh, and I have asked the police to ensure strict action against the culprits,” the chief minister said.
Condemning the incident, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said it was an act of “anti-social elements with wicked mindset” and urged people to ensure peace and unity and not to fall prey to the “ulterior motives” of such elements.
Ambedkar’s work and ideology are deep-rooted in the minds of people and none can remove the faith people have in him, Pawar further said.