ARIYALUR: A bust of Dravidian leader EV Ramaswamy ‘Periyar’ was found desecrated with tar in Ariyalur district on Thursday.
The bust is located at the entrance to the Periyar Memorial Samathuvapuram at Mannuzhi village that falls under the Thelur village panchayat. It was inaugurated by DMK president MK Stalin in 2011.
The tar was smeared so as to look like tears were flowing from the statue’s eyes. However, police said that the desecration might have taken place a few months ago.
On Thursday, a few villagers informed the cops after noticing tar smeared on the statue. Police then had the bust cleaned and repainted with the help of the locals. Some of the villagers said that they had seen tar on the bust at least two months ago. A new road was recently laid around the village and the villagers suspected that tar was taken from the road builders.
“I thought of cleaning it myself but got busy with some personal work,” said Sathyamurthy, a resident of the village. Ariyalur SP R Srinivasan said that the preliminary investigation had led police to suspect some village kids. “However, we are investigating it further,” he said.
As the news about the desecration spread, Periyar supporters and members of the Dravidar Kazhagam (founded by Periyar) gathered at the village. Sinthanai Selvan, the Dravidar Kazhagam’s Ariyalur district secretary said that the group had originally planned to stage a protest.
“But the villagers told us that they could not tolerate any desecration of the Periyar bust and assured us that they would protect it hereafter,” he said. Also, police had already arranged to repaint the bust by the time they reached.
“Police also assured us that they would protect the bust. So we dropped the protest plan,” he said, warning that there would be protests across the districts if such incidents recur.
The DK members garlanded the repainted bust and raised slogans praising the leader. Periyar statues have been desecrated at least twice in the State in recent months. In Coimbatore, a youth has been booked under the National Security Act for desecrating a Periyar statue in the city.