Statue Politics Continue: Ambedkar And Periyar Statues Vandalized After Lenin

Saul Bowman
March 8, 2018

A day later, a statue of Tamil icon EV Ramasamy or 'Periyar' was vandalised in the state of Tamil Nadu.

Political leaders from Tamil Nadu including DMK president MK Stalin and Kamal Hassan demanded action against Raja.

All the seven persons have been arrested, city police commissioner Rajiv Kumar said. Describing them as "drunk", the police identified one of them as a BJP activist and the other as an activist of the Communist Party of India.

When the plea came up, Additional Advocate General Aravindth Pandian submitted that the government was already seized of the matter and has ensured adequate protection to statues of Periyar across the state. On Monday, even a statue of communist icon and leader, Vladimir Lenin was bulldozed by BJP supporters in a celebration of victory. Meanwhile, Belonia Municipal Council's CEO Amit Ghosh said that the vandalised statue will be kept at the premises of the municipal body in Agartala.

After his comments on Periyar drew sharp reactions from leaders across party lines, Raja backtracked and said it was posted on his page without his permission. Instances of vandalism, which could potentially lead to political violence in different parts of the country, emerged from the celebratory mood in the BJP after its astounding performance in Tripura, a red bastion since 1978 (barring the period 1988-1992 when a Congress-led coalition held power).

After blackening and partially damaging the bust with a hammer, the six men, belonging to the Jadavpur University's "Radical" students' organisation, left a note in Bengali seeking an explanation from the BJP over the demolition of Lenin's statues.

Although he initially took his own sweet time to make his party and government stance clear.

MDMK leader Vaiko challenged Raja to try and remove Periyar's statue.

Prime Minister, Home Minister have spoken against it and asked to take strong actions. The statement also said persons responsible for such acts must be sternly dealt with and booked under relevant provisions of law. BJP state unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said the remarks were Raja's personal views and he has apologised. Both the accused were reportedly in an inebriated condition.

"We as a party do not support bringing down anybody's statue", he said. However, earlier police officials told Tamil media that Francis was a member of Naam Tamilar party. The BJP worker who was reportedly involved in stoning Periyar's statue has been expelled by the party.

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