Tension prevailed in Talheri Khurd village of Deoband area in Saharanpur district on Sunday morning after a statue of Dr Bheem Rao Ambedkar was desecrated by unknown people.

A crowd of angry Dalits gathered near the statue, demanding immediate arrest of those involved in the act.

SP (Rural) Saharanpur Vidya Sagar Misra said that a case has been registered against unidentified people and the police have started an investigation. “Those involved in the act would soon be identified and arrested,” said the SP.

On Sunday morning, the villagers observed that one hand of the statue was damaged. This agitated them and they demanded an immediate arrest of those responsible for the act of vandalism.

As soon as the news of the incident reached the police, sub-divisional magistrate of Deoband Ritu Punia and circle officer Siddharth Singh rushed to the spot and tried to pacify angry Dalits. They assured the villagers of taking stern action against the miscreants and also promised to get the damaged statue replaced with a new one.

Saharanpur district has a notorious history of caste-related clashes, especially involving the Dalits who form a major chunk of the population here. In May 2017, Dalit-Rajput clashes led to large scale violence in the district. The Bheem Army, which is a Dalit organization, is also active in the district. Its chief, Chandra Shekhar alias Ravana, was arrested and booked under NSA at that time and was released a few months back.