A statue of AIADMK founder and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MG Ramachandran (MGR) was draped with a saffron cloth on Thursday in Puducherry, leading to a protest on the spot. The agitation was led by AIADMK MLAs A Anbazhagan and Vayyapuri Manikandan, who demanded that the person responsible be apprehended immediately.
The incident took place in Villianur on the outskirts of Puducherry and visuals of the protests began to do the rounds across Tamil Nadu by Thursday evening. Legislators and AIADMK members conducted a sit down protest and asked the police department to identify the person responsible at the earliest.
However, on investigation police reportedly found that there was no malintent behind the act.
According to Times of India, an inspection of the CCTV footage revealed that it was a woman who had wrapped the shawl on the former Chief Minister. She was tracked down by the police, only to find that she was a person with an intellectual disability. Her husband, who was an AIADMK loyalist and Lord Ayyappan devotee, had reportedly given her the shawl. He had passed away recently and she wrapped the shawl around the statue to show her respect.
The incident sparked tensions due to vandalisation of statues of Dravida Kazhagam founder and rationalist thinker Periyar across Tamil Nadu over the last year.
On July 20, a 42-year-old man was detained in Erode district for trying to wrap a saffron-coloured shawl around a statue of Periyar. The accused, Prakash who belongs to the Tamizhaga Hindu Makkal Katchi was attempting to cross the steel fencing to the statue when he was stopped. He was shouting the slogan â€śVetrivel veeravelâ€ť (a proclamation used for Hindu deity Murugan) as he approached the statue. He was booked for provocation to cause riot, promoting enmity between groups and insult with intent to provoke breach of peace.
Before this, unidentified persons had vandalised the statue of the rationalist leader in Coimbatore district. They had poured saffron paint on it.