The BJP has since deleted its tweet apparently referencing the marriage of Periyar and Maniammai.

BJP posts offensive tweet on Periyar on his death anniversary gets slammed for itImage: Dravidar Kazhagam
news Controversy Tuesday, December 24, 2019 - 17:22

The Tamil Nadu wing of the BJP found itself at the receiving end of scathing criticism on Tuesday after it tweeted an offensive and distasteful remarks directed at social reformer and Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar. The party’s tweet on the leader has since been deleted, even as the state commemorates his death anniversary. However, the same tweet was posted again, this time by the party’s IT Wing. This too was subsequently deleted following sharp criticism from DMK chief MK Stalin as well as BJP ally PMK.  

The original tweet said, “On this day, which is the death anniversary of EVR, the father of Maniyammai, let us support the death penalty for child sexual abuse. Let us resolve to create a society without POCSO offenders.”

The tweet was an apparent reference to 70-year-old Periyar’s marriage in 1949 to Maniammai. Periyar married Maniammai who was an adult of 32 at the time and had been working with him for a few years. so that she could become his legal heir. Maniammai succeeded him as leader of the Dravidar Kazhagam following his death in 1973. Their marriage had caused a rift within the political outfit and was one of the reasons that DMK founder CN Annadurai subsequently parted ways and founded his own party.

Responding to the national ruling party’s deleted comments, Tamil Nadu Opposition leader MK Stalin slammed the BJP, tweeting, “A post insulting Periyar was published by [BJP Tamil Nadu's Twitter account] and was deleted after it received opposition. They could have thought before tweeting? Let that fear be there! Even after his death, Periyar has terrified you. Will AIADMK leap for this like a lion or hide like an earthworm?”

When asked about this, Tamil Nadu Cooperation Minister Sellur Raju condemned attacks on Periyar but did not call out AIADMK’s national ally, the BJP. He said, “The reason for a united Tamil Nadu with fraternity and brotherhood are Thanthai Periyar, Arignar Anna, Puratchi Thalaivar MGR and Kalaignar Karunanidhi. These people cannot be forgotten. We are duty bound to condemn anyone who insults them on behalf of the Dravidian movement.”

AIADMK and BJP’s ally PMK, however came down heavily on the BJP. Party chief S Ramadoss tweeted, “The tweets published by the Tamil Nadu BJP and its IT Wing on Thanthai Periyar's death anniversary are disgusting. This shows their jaundiced eyes. This is to be strongly condemned.”

Read: The September which split Dravidians: Periyar weds Maniyammai, DMK is born

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