Statue vandalism: PM Modi condemns incidents, Amit Shah warns of stern action against those found guilty
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday condemned incidents of vandalism reported from some parts of the country and warned of stern action against those found guilty.
Modi spoke to home minister Rajnath Singh and expressed his strong disapproval of the incidents, a government spokesperson said even as reports of another statue being defaced in West Bengal emerged.
“MHA (ministry of home affairs) has asked the states that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents...,” the spokesperson said.
BJP chief Amit Shah had a warning for party workers. “I have spoken to the party units in both Tamil Nadu and Tripura. Any person associated with the BJP found to be involved with destroying any statue will face severe action from the party,” Shah tweeted.
The BJP chief was talking about party supporters being blamed for toppling the statue of Lenin in a town in Tripura, where the party and its allies swept to power ending 25 years of left rule on March 3.
A Facebook post, which has since been deleted, by senior Tamil Nadu party leader H Raja talked about Periyar statues meeting the same fate as that of Lenin in Tripura.
“Who is Lenin and what is the connection between Lenin and India?... Lenin’s statue has been removed in Tripura. Today it is Lenin’s statue in Tripura, tomorrow it will be the statue of caste fanatic EVR Ramasamy,” he had posted on Tuesday, referring to social reformer popularly known as Periyar.
A few hours later, a Periyar statue was vandalised in Vellore and petrol bombs thrown at BJP office in Coimbatore.
In West bengal, members of an ultra-Left student outfit vandalised and defaced a statue of BJP ideologue Syama Prasad Mookerjee in Kolkata on Wednesday.
Police arrested six members of the “Radical,” believed to be a pro-Maoist students body formed in Jadavpur University four years ago, over the incident at South Kolkata’s Tollygunge.
According to a senior home ministry official, Singh spoke to Tripura governor Tathagata Roy after he appeared to justify the toppling of Lenin’s statue in South Tripura district.
“What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa,” the governor had tweeted.
Responding to reports of Singh’s intervention, Roy had tweeted, “The Governor has received no such written communication from the Union Home Minister…”
Later on Tuesday Roy tweeted, “I am advised that pulling down statues (Lenin’s or anyone else’s) unless done by lawfully empowered authorities, qualify as ‘Mischief’ under Indian Penal Code. They are bailable and non-cognizable offences. Trying to blow them up to something like rioting or murder is unwarranted.”