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Periyar's Statue Damaged in Vellore Hours After BJP Leader's Threatening Facebook Post

Two vandals were caught by locals and handed over to the police.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:March 6, 2018, 11:26 PM IST
Periyar's Statue Damaged in Vellore Hours After BJP Leader's Threatening Facebook Post
The glasses and the nose of the statue inside Tirupathur Corporation Office were damaged. (Photo: News18)

Chennai: After two Lenin’s statues were razed in Tripura, a statue of anti-untouchability activist and Dravidian movement leader EV Ramasamy, commonly known as Periyar, was vandalised by two men in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district on Tuesday evening.

According to police, the glasses and the nose of the statue inside Tirupathur Corporation Office were damaged by the vandals around 9pm. The men were caught by locals before they could inflict further damage and handed over to the police.

Police identified the arrested as Muthuraman and Francis. While Muthuraman is suspected to be a BJP worker, Francis is believed to be a CPI activist, police said.

The vandalism attempt came hours after senior BJP leader H Raja said Periyar was "casteist" and called for the reformist's statue to be "destroyed" in a Facebook post. He deleted the post after facing backlash.

“Who is Lenin? What is the relevance he holds in India? What is the link between communalism and India? Lenin’s statues were destroyed in Tripura, tomorrow, in Tamil Nadu, casteist Periyar’s statues will be destroyed,” wrote Raja.

The Facebook post was in reference to the incident in south Tripura, where alleged BJP supporters used a JCB to bring down a statue of communist revolutionary Lenin on Monday, two days after the party won the assembly elections in the state. On Tuesday, another Lenin statue was razed to the ground.

The Periyar reference in Raja’s post was heavily criticised online, following which, the leader took it down. He has reportedly said that someone else had inadvertently posted it on his page.

Defending Raja, BJP spokersperson Narayanan Tirupathi said, “More than 99.9% of the people in Tamil Nadu are spiritual. EVR’s statue carries the message that whoever worships God are barbarians, whoever preaches God are rascals and whosoever keep faith in God are fools. Hindu outfits have for long demanded the removal of these statues but this has not been done till date. Hence, H Raja’s outburst. The words may have been harsh but the intention is keeping in mind the majority of the population.”

Rival parties demanded Raja’s arrest. “No one dare touch EVR’s (Periyar) statue. H Raja made those comments to incite violence. He has been repeatedly doing this. He should be arrested and the Goondas Act slapped on him,” said DMK Working President, MK Stalin. MDMK leader Vaiko also said, “Whoever touches Periyar’s statues, will have their hands chopped off.”

| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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