Recently a picture of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's damaged statue is being shared on social media with a claim that it was damaged by a group of Muslim men in Meerut.
On 22 June, a Twitter user Kala Chaturvedi share the picture with a caption, "People who broke Ambedkar's statue is in Meerut has turned out to be Hindu terrorist(sarcastic). Their names are Azhar, Ashfaq, Nurul, Alim. Now, this is amazing.!!" (roughly translated from Hindi).
The tweet received more than 3500 likes and 2000 retweets at the time of writing this article.
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We did a reverse image search on Google and found that similar claims have been made in the past as well. A Twitter user Sarika Varshney tweeted the same picture on March 9, 2018, with an exact message claiming that the statue was broken by Muslims in Meerut.
Her tweet came after a statue of Ambedkar was vandalized in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district. As per The Indian Express report dated March 8, 2018, a statue of B R Ambedkar was allegedly vandalized in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district. The incident reported at Khurd village in Mawana had triggered serve protest with several members from the Dalit community taking to the street and put up a road blockade demanding immediate action against the miscreants. After that Mawana Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM) Ankush Srivastava told that they got a new and even bigger statue of Ambedkar installed at the place. Police had also logged a report against anti-social elements in this connection, but no arrests were made till the filing of the report by The Indian Express.
However, the above image can't be from that incident because another Twitter user Gusty Voice had made a similar claim on 31st December 2017 with the same picture, writing that "What if this was the statue of Pandit Deen Dayal or Shyama Prasad Mukherjee instead of B R Ambedkar?". (roughly translated from Hindi).
In the picture, we can see the installation date of the statue as 05/12/ 2017. So the incident must have happened in Dec 2017.
Further, we tried different searching techniques to get to the bottom of the news but we could not find any instance where the claim related to the viral picture is shown by any media report.
While Meerut police also replying on Kala Chaturvedi's tweet that "Please tell us where this incident has happened in Meerut so that the police can take immediate action. 1- The FIR could be lodged, 2- Find the accused, 3- The idol can be changed. Co-operate in maintaining law and order".
Even though we couldn't trace the original source of the image, it is safe to say that the picture is not related to Ambedkar Statue's vandalization that happened in March 2018.
The picture is available on the internet since 2017.
Several such cases
In the last few years, there have been several reports of vandalization of Ambedkar's statue in different parts of the country. Earlier in Feb this year, a statue of Ambedkar was found damaged in Hastinapur area of Meerut district.
A month later, in March 2019, another statue of Dalit icon B R Ambedkar was vandalised by unidentified miscreants in Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar district.
In April 2019, an Ambedkar statue was found vandalised in the dumping yard in Hyderabad.
Earlier, in Nov 2018, unidentified miscreants had vandalised a statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in Dadupur village, Ambala.
In March 2018, miscreants had vandalised Ambedkar’s statue in Allahabad, UP.
In Nov 2017, Ambedkar's statue was vandalised in Muzaffarnagar.
However, the viral picture is not related to any of these incidents.
There have been many media reports about the vandalization of Ambedkar's statue in Meerut most recently in February this year but the viral picture is not from that incident because the same picture was shared in 2017 as well.
The source of the image is unverified and the story behind it remains unverified.