A statue of rationalist leader EV Ramasamy Periyar was found vandalised in neighbouring Kancheepuram district on Friday morning, police said. The statue at Salavakkam in the district was found damaged this morning causing a flutter in the locality.
The incident comes in the backdrop of a renewed debate on Periyar in Tamil Nadu, after superstar Rajinikanth had made some remarks about the Dravidian stalwart at an event here last week.
On January 14, taking part at the event held by Tamil magazine 'Thuglak', Rajinikanth had alleged: "In 1971, at Salem, Periyar took out a rally in which the undressed images of Lord Sriramachandramoorthy and Sita -with a garland of sandal-featured...." drawing the ire of pro-Periyar outfits and political parties.
Political leaders condemned the vandalism.
DMK President M K Stalin and PMK founder S Ramadoss lashed out at the vandalism incident and demanded strict action against those involved in damaging the statue of the rational leader.
This is not the first time that statues of the Dravidian leader have been desecrated in Tamil Nadu.
In 2018 too, after the BJP implied that it will bring the fall of Periyar's Dravidian politics, statues of the leader were damaged.
This vandalisation of the statue in March 2018, came soon after BJP leaders in Tamil Nadu celebrated the fall of the Communist government in Tripura, while issuing a warning to Dravidian parties.
An alarming remark was posted from the verified Facebook page of BJP National Secretary H Raja, stating, "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 Ramaswami's statue. "
The BJP leader later distanced himself from the post, claiming that it was written by an adminstrator of his Facebook page.
In November 2019, at the height of controversy over the BJP's attempts to saffronise Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar, his statue too was damaged in Thanjavur district.
Even as social media is abuzz with the controversy around Thiruvalluvar’s robes, unidentified persons desecrated a statue of the legendary poet in Thanjavur district. The Thiruvalluvar state was smeared with black paint and cow dung.
MK Stalin, the Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu and the President of the DMK condemned the vandalism on his official Twitter page. Slamming the AIADMK, Stalin said that it has become a usual activity in the state to insult anybody who worked for the Tamils like Periyar and Thiruvalluvar.
(With inputs from PTI)