India

India Dalits 'seize Mumbai mill' for Ambedkar monument

A woman on the pavement selling posters of Ambedkar and the Buddha
Image caption BR Ambedkar is considered a Dalit icon in India

Low-caste Dalit activists in India's western city of Mumbai have forcibly taken over a mill compound to construct a monument to their late leader BR Ambedkar, police say.

The workers of the Republican Sena say they "captured" the land because the government failed to allot it to them.

Thousands had gathered there to observe the anniversary of Ambedkar's death.

Officials said the police baton-charged the activists when they tried to remove the barricades in the compound.

The Republican Sena chief, Anandraj Ambedkar, told the media that his organisation would now construct an "international memorial" to the Dalit icon.

He is the grandson of BR Ambedkar.

Anandraj Ambedkar said the monument would be called "Bikshu Vihar", or the abode of the monks.

BR Ambedkar, who was a contemporary of Mahatma Gandhi, converted to Buddhism in his last days.

He played an important role in shaping the constitution for independent India.

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