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After Periyar, BR Ambedkar’s statue defaced in Tamil Nadu

There has been a series of attacks on statues of political figures in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala after a Communist icon Vladimir Lenin statue in Tripura was toppled on Monday.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2018 16:20 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Ambedkar statue vandalised,Ambedkar statue,Periyar
Unidentified miscreants poured paint on the bust of Dr BR Ambedkar in Tiruvottiyur, Chennai on Wednesday night.(ANI Photo)

A bust of Dalit leader BR Ambedkar was defaced by unknown people late on Wednesday in north Chennai in Tamil Nadu, police said on Thursday, days after a statue of Dravidian icon EV Ramasamy or Periyar was vandalised after a senior BJP leader’s inflammatory post on Facebook.

Police said Ambedkar’s bust was found splashed with red paint in the market area in Tiruvottiyur on Thursday morning by shopkeepers, who reached Gramam Street to open their shops.

A local police officer said they were checking footage from closed-circuit television or CCTV cameras positioned in the vicinity of the incident. “We will nab the culprits once the identity is established,” the officer said adding that it could be the handiwork of locals.

Security has been stepped up in the area, the police officer also said.

There has been a series of attacks on statues of political figures in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala after a Communist icon Vladimir Lenin statue in Tripura was toppled on Monday.

Another statue of Ambedkar was vandalised in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district on Tuesday night. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was vandalised in north Kerala’s Kannur district on Wednesday by unidentified men who hurled stones and bottles damaging the spectacle and garland.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami condemned the incident as well as the one in Vellore where Periyar’s statue was vandalised. He said comments such as that of Bharatiya Janata Party leader H Raja were uncalled for and unacceptable.

“Raja has explained that it was posted by his admin and that it was since removed as also the admin removed from the job,” Palaniswami said but added, “Raja must apologise properly to the people of Tamil Nadu.”

Political newcomer and superstar Rajinikanth, who kept silent so far, came out strongly against the statue desecration and condemned it as barbaric.

Raja posted, and removed later, remarks that Periyar’s statues in Tamil Nadu will fall next following Communist icon Vladimir Lenin’s in Tripura. He apologised for his comments, saying his social media team erroneously posted the remarks against Periyar and he had removed the people responsible for it.

But most political parties, barring the ruling AIADMK, dismissed his apology.

On Wednesday, at least eight Brahmins were assaulted by four people on motorcycles in the Triplicane and Mylapore neighbourhoods of Chennai and it was seen as a retaliatory move after Raja’s post.

These men, allegedly members of the Dravidar Viduthalai Kazhagam, shouted “Love live Periyar” slogans and cut the sacred threads, or poonal, that the Brahmins wear across their shoulders.

The incidents in Tamil Nadu and Kerala have come hours after the Union ministry of home affairs sent out an advisory to the states asking them to prevent such incidents as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he disapproved of such incidents and spoke with Union home minister Rajnath Singh.

It issued a second advisory later on Wednesday, asking the states to “promptly investigate” all such attacks and “to make district magistrates and senior superintendents of police personally responsible” for law and order in the context of the attacks.

The Madras high court also directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure law and order across the state after vandals desecrated the statue of rationalist leader Periyar on Tuesday evening.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 16:19 IST