A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) head constable has been arrested in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai in connection with the vandalism of a Periyar statue, which was discovered early on Tuesday morning. Senthil Kumar has been remanded to judicial custody. In a statement, the CRPF has suspended Senthil, and has said that he is suffering from mental health issues.
According to a statement by CRPF, Senthil Kumar was on 30 days leave starting from March 14, and is undergoing treatment for a mental illness at a hospital in Hyderabad.
“As reported, the individual has been apprehended by the Tamil Nadu police on a complaint lodged regarding his reported involvement in vandalising of a statue near Alangudi in Pudukkottai district, Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile he has been taken into judicial custody. The matter is being investigated by the Tamil Nadu police. The individual has been placed under suspension pending enquiry in the case,” the statement said.
Senthil Kumar was nabbed by the Alangudi police on Tuesday night in Pudukkottai.
A statue of Dravidian stalwart EV Ramasamy, popularly known as Periyar, was vandalised in Alangudi town in Tamil Nadu's Pudukkottai district in the wee hours of Tuesday. Alarmed locals informed the Alangudi Deputy Commissioner's office upon seeing the broken statue.
This is the latest in a series of incidents, kicked off by the remarks made by BJP national secretary H Raja on his verified Facebook account, following the razing of the Lenin statue in Tripura earlier this month. The post read, “Who is Lenin? What is his connection to India? What is the connection of communists to India? Lenin's statue was destroyed in Tripura. Today Lenin's statue, tomorrow Tamil Nadu's EVR Ramasamy's statue.”
While H Raja subsequently deleted the post, and claimed it was made by an admin without his permission, the remark had already set off a chain of vandalism in the state. Hours after the post was put up, a Periyar statue was vandalised in Vellore, and in retaliation, several petrol bombs were thrown at the BJP office in Coimbatore.