Just days after a row broke out between the BJP and DMK over 'saffronisation' of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, Hindu Makkal Katchi founder Arjun Sampath added fuel to fire by wrapping a Thiruvalluvar statue in saffron cloth and placing a rudraksha mala around it.
A video of Arjun Sampath wrapping the cloth and then doing a pooja around the statue started doing rounds on Wednesday and soon after he was arrested by the Thanjavur police. He is currently being held in the Thanjavur Tamil University station but and FIR is yet to be filed in the matter. On Tuesday, the same statue of the poet was desecrated and police sources say they do not want tensions to rise.
Last Saturday, while hailing the release of the Thai translation of Tirukkural (penned by Thiruvalluvar) in Bangkok last Saturday, the state BJP had tweeted a portrait of the poet, depicting him in saffron robes. This had led to backlash from opposition parties in the state who pointed out that the saint was always depicted in white attire and that the BJP was attempting to appropriate his history and teachings.
The BJP meanwhile meanwhile has remained unfazed by the allegations and has instead instructed party members in the state to pay respects to the saint.
A release from the TN BJP says, "Pay floral tributes to Thiruvalluvar pictures in your homes, offices and public places on Saturday and Sunday (November 9 and 10). Display this event with the hashtag #Thiruvalluvar on Twitter and Facebook. The pictures should feature in the new year celebrations for 2020."
The BJP and its supporters have contended that Thiruvalluvar was a Hindu saint and therefore the orange robes are justified/ Members of the DMK and Dravidar Kazhagam however have called this an attack on Tamil and maintained that Thiruvalluvar wore white robes and did not wear any visible Hindu marks like rudraksha beads or holy ash.
Minister for Tamil language and Culture K Pandiarajan meanwhile opined that people from all religions have the right to consider Thiruvalluvar as their respective religious icon.
"From the figure of a meditating saint engraved in the gold coin, it can be assumed he is a saint from either Samanam, Saivam or Vainavam. For sure, he is not an atheist. People from all religion including Hindus, Christians and Muslims have right to consider Thiruvalluvar as their religious icon and none has the right to stop it,” he told the media.