DMK cadres smashed up the BJP's office in central Chennai on Sunday in protest against the fatwa issued against their leader and Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi by VHP leader Ramvilas Vedanti.
The cadres entered the compound of the BJP office, hurled stones and boulders, broke furniture and uprooted flagpoles.
Meanwhile, Vedanti, in a message sent to the BJP national executive, said he was misquoted by the media. "Saints never believe in violence," he said, claiming that he meant scriptures sanctioned death penalty for those who spoke against Hindu deities.
The BJP condemned the attacks on its offices in Tamil Nadu and criticised the DMK for "political fascism". Senior party leader LK Advani spoke to Home Minister Shivraj Patil over the phone on the issue. On Saturday, BJP president Rajnath Singh had told reporters: "The BJP neither accepts nor supports Vedanti's statement."
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union Shipping Minister and DMK leader TR Baalu said the government should take immediate action "with a firm hand so as to put an end to unlawful, undemocratic, provocative attitude of persons like Vedanti who are driven by fundamentalist forces."
In Chennai, Karunanidhi said that he was not against the realignment of the Sethusamudram project and was only concerned about the implementation of the project. "It is for the engineers to decide on any realignment," he told a TV channel in Chennai.
Baalu, however, stonewalled any possibility of a realignment, saying, "We are going ahead with the project and my ministry will endeavour to complete it by December next year. There is no need for any rescheduling, though there has been a minor setback to the project."