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Attacks on statues | After Lenin in Tripura, Periyar in Tamil Nadu, Ambedkar in Meerut, Mahatma Gandhi statue damaged in Kerala's Kannur

These incidents come after two statues of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or Lenin, were knocked down in Tripura’s Belonia town on Tuesday morning.

Published: 07th March 2018 04:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2018 09:15 PM   |  A+A-

Vandalised Periyar statue in Vellore | EPS

By Online Desk

In the latest report in a series of vandalism attacks on statues of prominent figures, a bust of Dalit icon Ambedkar was damaged in Meerut’s Mawana Khurd in Uttar Pradesh in the early hours of Wednesday. Also, a bust of Jan Sangh founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee was blackened and vandalised at Keoratala Crematorium in Kalighat.

These incidents come after two statues of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov or Lenin, were knocked down in Tripura’s Belonia town on Tuesday morning. The statue was brought down by suspected BJP workers celebrating their party’s victory in the Assembly elections, ending the 25-year rule of the Left Front in the state.

Soon after, Tamil Nadu BJP leader H Raja threatened on social media that statues of Dravidian icon and social reformer 'Periyar' too would be pulled down, just like Lenin's. Hours after his post (which he deleted due to backlash from Opposition parties) two men vandalised a Periyar statue at a municipal corporation office in Vellore on Tuesday night. The party today expelled party worker R Muthuraman, who was arrested on Tuesday for damaging Periyar’s bust in Vellore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh today condemned these incidents and asked states to take stern action against those accountable.

HERE ARE ALL THE DEVELOPMENTS

March 8

  • Actor Rajinikanth finally made a statement on the statue vandalism in Tamil Nadu following H Raja's remarks: "Raja's comment indicating that Periyar's statue be removed and the subsequent vandalism were a barbaric act. I strongly condemn it. It is my humble view that the issue need not be magnified further as Raja has expressed regret."

  • A bust of Dalit leader B R Ambedkar in a residential locality in North Chennai area was found defaced today, triggering a protest by locals.

    The bust, placed inside a structure covered with a grill in a residential neighbourhood in Tiruvotriyur, was splattered with paint.
  • A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was seen damaged by unknown persons in Thaliparamba area of Kannur, Kerala. The spectacles on the statue was damaged.

Statue of Mahatma Gandhi damaged in Kannur. (ANI)

READ STORY HERE  | Statue politics shakes up Tamil Nadu, fuels violence

March 7

  • The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure maintenance of law and order and peace across the state amid intensifying protests against H Raja's remarks. It asked to ensure adequate protection were given to the statues of Periyar across the state.

Police personnel guard the statue of rationalist leader E V Ramasamy popularly known as 'Periyar' in Chennai on Wednesday. | PTI
  • A statue of Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar was vandalized in Meerut district in Uttar Pradesh in the wee hours of today. The incident took place in Khurd village early in the morning and was noticed by villagers and others. Senior district officials rushed to the spot and security forces were deployed in large numbers.

Dr BR Ambedkar's statue vandalised by unidentified people in Meerut. (Twitter Photo: ANI)
  • As a fallout of Raja's comment and the vandalising of Periyar's statue at Thirupattur in Vellore district late on Tuesday, several Tamil Brahmins were attacked in Triplicane area in Chennai on Wednesday morning and their sacred threads were cut by vandals on two wheelers raising pro-Ramasamy slogans. According to a police official, four persons have surrendered in connection with the assault though no formal complaint was registered by the affected persons. (IANS)

  • Meanwhile, Tamil actor and newly minted politician Kamal Haasan, the President of Makkal Neethi Maiam (MNM), said he wondered if the ongoing controversy was aimed at diverting attention from the Cauvery issue and said the social reformer's stature was taller and stands beyond the reach of talk of vandalism. "More than Periyar statue's, H Raja needs police protection. Tamils will take care of Periyar statues," he noted.

  • Asked if the BJP will take action against Raja, BJP party chief Amit Shah told reporters outside Parliament, "No, we will not".

  • The BJP high command has reportedly pulled up H Raja for his Facebook post claiming that Dravidian leader Periyar's statue too would be toppled from public places in Tamil Nadu. This morning, Raja tendered an apology for the post but blamed it on the person who manages his FB account for posting the comment without his consent.

“The post regarding the Periyar statue was posted without my consent. So, later, I removed the post. We should counter views with views and not with violence.  I don't have any intention to hurt the feelings of anyone. If my post had hurt anyone, I express my whole hearted regret. Further, damaging the statue of Periyar is not acceptable to us,” Raja said in his FB post today.

DMK members along with the members of various Tamil outfits burn an effigy of BJP leader H Raja in Chennai on Wednesday. | PTI
  • Later in the day, in a retaliatory attack, six Jadavpur University students belonging to a “radical Left student’s union” were arrested for allegedly vandalising and blackening a bust of Jan Sangh founder Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee at Keoratala Crematorium in Kalighat on Wednesday morning. They were stopped by locals from completely destroying the bust and were handed over to the police.

The vandalised statue of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in Kolkata. | Express Photo Service
  • Two petrol bombs were hurled in front of BJP's office in Coimbatore in the early hours of Wednesday, a day after H Raja's comments.

March 6

  • Hours after H Raja's threat, on Tuesday night, two men vandalised a Periyar statue at a municipal corporation office in Vellore.  Police said that the two men, involved in the act were drunk. One is a member of the BJP and the other a CPI member.

  • The BJP leader, however, deleted the Facebook post and said his page was maintained by various administrators from his team. DMK working president MK Stalin demanded the arrest of Mr Raja for his post and said that the Goondas Act be slapped against him.

  • BJP national secretary from Tamil Nadu H Raja posted on social media saying that soon revolutionary Tamil leader EV Ramasamy's statue too would fall. Raja's post said, “Who is Lenin and what is the connection between Lenin and India? What connection has India with communists? Lenin's statue has been removed in Tripura. Today, it is Lenin's statue in Tripura, tomorrow, it will be the statue of caste-fanatic EV Ramasamy.”

 

  • A five-foot-high fibreglass statue of Lenin was toppled at Belonia in Tripura yesterday, while a smaller figure was razed at Sabroom two days ago. The CPI(M) and its arch-rival in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, blamed the BJP for the incidents. The statues were pulled down just days after the Left was defeated in Assembly polls by the BJP and its ally IPFT, which together won a two-third majority in the House in a state where the CPI(M) was in power for 25 years.

(With inputs from agencies)



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