Chennai: The statue of social reformer and Dravidian movement icon E.V. Ramasamy—fondly called as Periyar—was vandalised at Tirupattur in Vellore on Tuesday night, hours after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary H. Raja indicated so in a Facebook post.
Two persons, including a BJP party functionary, were arrested for allegedly pelting the statue of Periyar, according to local media reports.
Following this, on Wednesday morning, four unidentified persons hurled petrol bombs at the BJP office in Coimbatore. The police have released a CCTV footage and are investigating into the matter.
On Wednesday, the home ministry issued an advisory to states over incidents of toppling of statues and asked state governments to take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents.
After the statue of Russian leader Vladimir Lenin was razed down in Tripura, following the defeat of the Left party in the northeastern state after 25 years of rule, on Tuesday, Raja in his Facebook post said: “Who is Lenin? How is he connected to India? How is communism linked to India? Lenin’s statue destroyed in Tripura. Today Lenin’s statue, tomorrow Tamil Nadu’s EVR Ramaswami’s statue."
BJP youth wing’s vice-president S.G. Suryah also made similar observations. Suryah tweeted, “BJP successfully completed the fall of Lenin in #Tripura! Can’t wait for the fall of EV Ramasamy statues in Tamil Nadu."
As political party leaders in Tamil Nadu condemned Raja’s remark, the Facebook post was deleted.
“Since the post was made by Admin of the page, without my permission, I deleted it," said Raja on Wednesday. “I apologise if it had offended anyone," he added.
BJP’s national general secretary Muralidhar Rao clarified, “BJP does not subscribe to any kind of provoking or disrespectful statements and actions of vandalism towards leaders like Periyar. We condemn outrightly those people who are indulging in such actions."
Following Raja ‘s controversial Facebook post on Tuesday, opposition leader and working president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin said, “No one can dare to touch Periyar’s statue. Raja who has been repeatedly inciting violence should be arrested under the Goondas Act."
Police security has been beefed up for BJP offices and for Periyar statues. In Chennai, security has been provided to all 27 statues of Periyar, reported Tamil news channel Puthiya Thalaimurai.
Meanwhile, various political parties and organisations are protesting against the BJP leader’s remarks on Periyar.