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PM Narendra Modi said stern action should be taken against people guilty of vandalising statues, which have been reported in states including Tripura, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Photo: AFP
PM Narendra Modi said stern action should be taken against people guilty of vandalising statues, which have been reported in states including Tripura, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Photo: AFP

Narendra Modi condemns incidents of statue vandalism, warns of action

The home ministry has asked the state governments of Tripura, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh to take all necessary measures to prevent statue vandalism

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said stern action should be taken against people guilty of vandalising statues, which have been reported in states including Tripura, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

In a strongly worded message, the prime minister condemned the incidents of statue vandalism. The home ministry has also told state governments that they “must take all necessary measures" to prevent such incidents.

“The prime minister spoke to home minister Rajnath Singh in this regard and expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents... Persons indulging in such acts must be sternly dealt with and booked under relevant provisions of law," the prime minister’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.

The incidents of statue vandalism began from Belonia in south Tripura on Monday when a statue of Vladimir Lenin was destroyed, allegedly by supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The incident took place two days after the BJP swept the Tripura elections with a two-thirds majority, putting an end to 25 years of Left rule. Analysts say that though vandalism by a mob in Tripura could be by overzealous people opposed to the Left ideology, the incidents in other parts of the country were thoughtfully planned and executed by supporters of different political ideologies as a reaction to the first incident.

The incidents of statue vandalism began from Belonia in south Tripura on Monday when a statue of Vladimir Lenin was destroyed, allegedly by supporters of the BJP. Photo: PTI
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The incidents of statue vandalism began from Belonia in south Tripura on Monday when a statue of Vladimir Lenin was destroyed, allegedly by supporters of the BJP. Photo: PTI

“It is a very crude form of expression. These actions cannot be rationalized. What happened in Tripura could be explained as a release of pent-up energy, but the attack on a statue in Kolkata or elsewhere was a calculated attack by a section of people," said Kashi Nath Jena, an Agartala-based political analyst.

The incident in Tripura has sparked a series of such vandalism of statues of different personalities including Shyama Prasad Mookerjee in Kolkata, B.R. Ambedkar in Meerut and Periyar E.V. Ramasamy in Vellore. “The recent issue on destroying of statues is extremely unfortunate. We as a party do not support the bringing down of anybody’s statue," BJP president Amit Shah wrote on Twitter. “Any person associated with the BJP found to be involved with destroying any statue will face severe action from the party".

A police official along with a group of people clean the bust of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee after it was vandalized by unknown people at Keoratola Mohasoshan in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
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A police official along with a group of people clean the bust of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee after it was vandalized by unknown people at Keoratola Mohasoshan in Kolkata on Wednesday. Photo: PTI

Later in the day, the centre issued a second advisory to the states to promptly investigate the incidents of vandalism of statues and booking the culprits. “Intensification of patrolling in sensitive locations, community policing for peace and harmony, check on anti-social elements and preventive measures wherever required are the main elements of the advisory," said an official release.

Meanwhile, the matter resonated in the ongoing budget session of Parliament with opposition parties raising the issue.

“Hatred and division is the face of BJP and it is a reflection of a new kind of politics. By vandalising statues, personalities of people do not end, that is why the BJP needs to introspect within itself," Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a statement.

The damaged statue of ‘Periyar’ in Vellore on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
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The damaged statue of ‘Periyar’ in Vellore on Wednesday. Photo: PTI
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