The police and district administration Sunday seized a statue of dacoit-turned-politician Phoolan Devi before it was installed, and also did not allow Bihar minister Mukesh Sahani to exit the Varanasi airport for attending the installation ceremony, officials said. Superintendent of Police Ram Badan Singh said the statue of the former Lok Sabha MP was to be installed at Amilhara village on her death anniversary Sunday, and a platform was built for this purpose. The entire programme was being organised by the Mukesh Sahani-led Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), a BJP ally in Bihar. The VIP accused the BJP of having a “casteist mentality”.
Bhadohi sub-divisional magistrate Ashish Kumar said no permission was sought to install the statue and the land where it was to be installed belonged to the gram samaj.
The Bhadohi SP also said that VIP chief and Bihar’s Minister for Animal and Fisheries Sahani, who was coming here at the event, was not allowed to come out from the Varanasi airport, and sent back to Bihar.
Police also said Sahani had sent the statue here and it will be dispatched back. Phoolan Devi, who was killed on this day in 2001, was popularly known as “Bandit Queen”. She also served as a member of parliament on a Samajwadi Party ticket. She was assassinated in Delhi.
District head of Vikassheel Insaan Party Ramakant Kevat said party workers wanted to install the statue on July 25 to mark her death anniversary, but it was taken into custody by the police. He also said that the BJP is showing its “casteist mentality”, and added the party will hold protests over this issue.