Chennai: Senior BJP leader H Raja is facing backlash for putting up a post on Facebook, where he calls Periyar "casteist" and called for the reformist's statue to be "destroyed".
“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.
Periyar was a social activist, politician who started the Self-Respect Movement and is known as the Father of Dravidian politics.
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, two days after the party won the assembly elections in the state.
The Periyar reference in Raja’s post was heavily criticised online, following which, the leader took it down. Rival parties, though, have 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 arrest 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.”
H Raja has been embroiled in Periyar-related controversy before. During an RSS event, the leader said that he would have beaten Periyar with slippers if he could and that Periyar, who led a famous fight against untouchability, was actually 'anti-Dalit'. A FIR had been filed against Raja for the comments.
Defending his pspokespersonBJP 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.”