Minor clashes broke out between the cadres of the DMK-CPI(M) and BJP-Hindu Munnani in Madurai city over the bust of Dravidian leader Periyar on Tuesday night. Tension prevailed in the area for a short while and caused traffic disruptions till the police intervened.
According to reports, the incident happened in the New Jail Road area in Madurai where a half-a-foot high bust of Periyar has been installed since long. The bust was in a damaged condition. On Tuesday, a group of people belonging to the CPI(M), DMK and CITU replaced the bust with a 3-feet high bust. However, this replacement was objected to by the cadres of the BJP and the Hindu Munnani among others, who demanded that the new bust be removed. This led to heated arguments between the two groups, which brought the busy traffic on New Jail Road to a halt.
Tuesday was also the birth anniversary of Dravidian leader and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu CN Annadurai.
While the saffron groups alleged that no permission had been obtained to replace the bust, the CPI(M)-DMK groups claimed that the saffron groups had installed a statue of Vinayagar in a nearby temple without permission. The police rushed to the spot and the Deputy Commissioner of Police R Shiva Prasad held talks with both the groups to pacify them. The traffic was also regulated and a large group of policemen have been deployed in the area as a precautionary measure. The bust was, however, replaced on Tuesday after the police granted permission for it.
This incident is the latest in the line of instances involving statues of Periyar EV Ramasamy, also known as the â€˜Father of Dravidian movementâ€™. In July, a statue of Periyar was vandalised with saffron paint in Kuniyamuthur locality in Coimbatore. The man responsible for the vandalism later surrendered to the police.