A statue of E V Ramasamy Periyar was found smeared with saffron dye on Sunday by unidentified miscreants. The saffron-smeared statue of the reformist leader has drawn strong responses from political leaders in Tamil Nadu.
A slipper was also found near the statue at Samathuvapuram colony in Inamkulathur here early this morning, police said, adding, a case has been registered for defacing and vandalising the statue.
Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam condemned the vandalism and assured that stringent legal action would be taken against those involved. Political leaders, including DMK chief M K Stalin slammed the incident, the second such one in the state in recent months, after a statue of the rational leader was found daubed in saffron paint in Coimbatore.
Locals blocked traffic for some time on the Dindigul highway, protesting against the vandalism and dispersed after police assured them that action would be taken.
Panneerselvam lashed out at the incident, and hailed the leader's struggle for ensuring social justice. "Stringent legal action will be taken against those anti-social elements involved in the incident," he said in a tweet.
சமூகநீதிக்காக பாடுபட்ட பகுத்தறிவு பகலவர் தந்தை பெரியாரின் சிலையை திருச்சியில் மர்மநபர்கள் அவமரியாதை செய்திருக்கும் செயலுக்கு எனது கடும் கண்டனங்களை தெரிவித்துக் கொள்கிறேன். இக்குற்றச் செயலில் ஈடுபட்ட சமுக விரோதிகள் மீது மாண்புமிகு அம்மாவின் அரசு சட்டப்படி கடும்நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கும். pic.twitter.com/fuFsqnvS4p— O Panneerselvam (@OfficeOfOPS) September 27, 2020
Stalin slammed the defacing of the statue of the Dravidian stalwart and said people will "boycott" such persons. Periyar was not the leader of just a movement---Dravidar
Kazhagam -- but that of Tamils, he said. "When are they going to realise that people will further boycott them if they repeatedly do the same mistake," he said in a Facebook post without naming anyone.
There have been repeated instances of Periyar statues being vandalised or desecrated in the recent past in the state. "Periyar is not the leader of just a movement. He is the
leader of the Tamil race. Those who do such things thinking they are insulting him are insulting themselves," he said and strongly condemned the incident.
PMK leader S Ramadoss hit out at the defacing of the statue and demanded "strong action" against those involved. MDMK founder and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko, AMMK leader and independent MLA T T V Dhinakaran and VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan, MP, also criticised the latest episode of targeting Periyar's statue and demanded that such elements be dealt with strictly.
E V Ramasamy, fondly addressed by supporters and followers in the reverential term 'Periyar', led a popular self-respect movement in the state based on rationalist principles and is the founder of DMK's parent organisation, Dravidar Kazhagam.
(With inputs from PTI)