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Statue vandalism updates: After BR Ambedkar, Periyar statues defiled, demand rises to arrest vandals under NSA act

Two statues of communist icon Vladimir Lenin were brought down in South Tripura, the police said, as the CPM and its arch-rival in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, blamed the BJP for the incidents.

FP Staff March 07, 2018 19:04:42 IST
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Statue vandalism updates: After BR Ambedkar, Periyar statues defiled, demand rises to arrest vandals under NSA act

Highlights

17:24 (ist)

Police say men who vandalised Periyar statue were not drunk

According to The Times of Indiathe men arrested for allegedly defiling a Periyar statue were not drunk and they had damaged it deliberately with a hammer, the police has said. 

16:21 (ist)

H Raja's remarks on EV Ramasamy statue have further damaged BJP's reputation in Tamil Nadu

Raja was playing with fire and he realised it when the sharp reactions scorched him. DMK leader MK Stalin asked for Raja to be booked under the Goondas Act, Vaiko and Khushbu dared him to touch one Periyar statue. But Raja was not the only offender. SG Suryah, the vice-president of the BJP Youth Wing also tweeted: "BJP successfully completed the fall of Lenin in Tripura! Can't wait for the fall of EV Ramasamy statues in Tamil Nadu.''

By late evening, Raja and Suryah's provocative comments translated into reality when a couple of drunk men, one of them a BJP activist, vandalised a bust of Periyar in Vellore. 

But was it indeed a case of overreach by the duo or is there more than what meets the eye? At a Tamil Nadu BJP level, this seems to be a case of intra-BJP rivalry between Raja and those who preside over the state unit — an attempt to score brownie points. But at a macro level, this could well be an effort to test the waters — to see if Periyarism is relevant and has currency in 2018.

The two parties that swear by Periyar's ideology are the DMK and AIADMK, apart from a host of smaller Dravidian outfits. But the late Jayalalithaa visited temples, participated in religious prayers and offerings, even though this was completely against what Periyar propagated. But even while practising her religious beliefs, Jayalalithaa never spoke against Periyar. 

Read the full article here

10:41 (ist)

MHA issues advisory to states to prevent incidents of vandalism

Union Ministry of Home Affairs released a statement which was an advisory to states to prevent incidents of vandalism:

"Incidents of toppling of statues have been reported from certain parts of the country. Union Ministry of Home Affairs has taken serious note of such incidents of vandalism. Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents.

MHA has asked the States that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents. Persons indulging in such acts must be sternly dealt with and booked under relevant provisions of law. The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi also spoke to the Union Home Minister in this regard."

18:00 (ist)

When Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Lenin's mausoleum in Russia

In 1979, then prime minister Morarji Desai was on a state visit to Russia and Atal Bihari Vajpayee as foreign minister of India, accompanied him. In the course of his visit, Vajpayee had to visit Lenin's mausoleum in Moscow for a wreath laying ceremony. PK Budhwar, in his book A Diplomat Reveals refers to the incident and said that Vajpayee responded in his own style, when he was asked how he felt about the whole thing. "Hum mein aur Rossion me antar kya hai, hum Shiv ki pooja karte hain ye shav ki (What is the difference between us and the Russians. We worship Shiva, they worship dead body)"

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Mar 07, 2018 - 17:40 (IST)

Vaiko questions BJP leadership for letting off H Raja

"Why hasn't H Raja, who is the reason behind the demolition of Periyar statue, been arrested yet," MDMK chief Vaiko questioned.

Speaking to journalists at Chennai airport, he said, "It is the truth that H Raja made a statement saying Periyar statues will be removed in TN.  When Lenin's statue was removed yesterday in Tripura was Rajnath Singh in coma? Was Modi unconscious? Neither Modi's military might nor the police force of the Tamil Nady government that supports him, will be able to go near a Periyar statue without getting their hands chopped off first," he warned.

"H Raja had said earlier that he will hit Periyar with his slippers. If he is a real man, he will accept that he said this. It was wrong to let him live in this country after he made that statement," Vaiko added. 

Mydeen Abdul Kathar/101Reporters

Mar 07, 2018 - 17:30 (IST)

Jignesh Mevani's statement on statue vandalism 

"Vandalizing Periyar's statue is an insult to Tamil culture and challenge to the idea of India.The celebratory approvals from BJP leaders and constitutional authorities to the toppling of Lenin statues in Tripura and the defacement of Periyar’s statue in Tamil Nadu capture two stunning realities of the Modi era: A complete contempt for Constitutional values and the mainstreaming of violence against all ideologies and ideas that do not subscribe to the narrow sectarian views of Hindutva," Mevani said. 

"I call upon the Tamil Nadu government to deal with his open call to violence peacefully but with uncompromising deployment of the laws of the land. A mere regret or belated statements from BJP leaders do not wash away their uncivil, and unconstitutional, support to the public challenge by their cadres to law and order both in Tripura and Tamil Nadu," he added. 

Mar 07, 2018 - 17:26 (IST)

Jignesh Mevani takes to twitter on statue politics, says BJP men must demolish Manu statues not Lenin's or Priyar's

Mar 07, 2018 - 17:24 (IST)

Police say men who vandalised Periyar statue were not drunk

According to The Times of Indiathe men arrested for allegedly defiling a Periyar statue were not drunk and they had damaged it deliberately with a hammer, the police has said. 

Mar 07, 2018 - 17:17 (IST)

Demands to arrest vandals under NSA act rise

Several AIADMK MLAs including Thamimun Ansari, Karunas and U Thaniyarasu have issued a joint statement demanding H Raja's arrest under the National Security Act. Earlier, Bhim Army in Uttar Pradesh also raised a similar request urging authorities to arrest all those responsible for defacing the statues under teh NSA act.   

Input by Mydeen Abdul Kathar/101Reporters

Mar 07, 2018 - 17:10 (IST)

BJP higher ups send stern message to party workers

Pon Radhakrishnan, MoS Finance and Shipping, while addressing a press conference said, "Following vandalism of statues in Tripura and Tamil Nadu, PM Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have issued clear and strict guidelines that while the party is ready to fight any political differences, it will only be done in a democratic fashion, not by acting against the principles of democracy which have been upheld by the party since the beginning. BJP workers in Tripura and Tamil Nadu will follow these guidelines as laid out by party higher-ups. Amit Shah-led ideological guidelines have helped the BJP establish majority governments in more than 20 states and BJP workers must remember this proudly."

Mydeen Abdul Kathar/101Reporters

Mar 07, 2018 - 17:04 (IST)

H Raja's effigy burnt by protestors in Chennai's RK Nagar

H Raja's effigy was burnt by protestors in Chennai's RK Nagar. 

Mydeen Abdul Kadar/101Reporters

Mar 07, 2018 - 16:44 (IST)

BJP expels Periyar statue attacker but no word on action against H Raja

The BJP worker who defiled the Periyar statue in an inebriated state has been expelled by the party. However, it is mum on its national secretary H Raja, whose Facebook post added fuel to the whole controversy. 

Raja has apologised for the post, blaming it on his social media manager. However, Dravidin parties, including Kamal Haasan's newly formed Makkal Needhi Maiam have refused to accept the apology. 

Mar 07, 2018 - 16:37 (IST)

Protests in Chennai, effigies of H Raja burnt

Massive protests broke out in Chennai's Anna Salai area as workers of various political parties protested against the BJP leader's comments.

Mydeen Abdul Kathar/101Reporters

Mar 07, 2018 - 16:31 (IST)

Security increased in Delhi after Lenin, Periyar statues vandalised

After an MHA advisory was sent out to all states advising preventive action against incidents of vandalism, SHOs have been briefed to increase security in their areas in the National Capital. Police is making a list of sensitive and highly sensitive areas, and adequate number of personnel have been deployed around statues, a NDTV report said.  

Tripura violence Latest updates: MHA has asked states that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents. Persons indulging in such acts must be sternly dealt with and booked under relevant provisions of law. The Home Ministry advisory also asked states to make District Magistrates and SSPs personally accountable for upholding law and order in their respective regions.

As reports of statue vandalism filtered in from various parts of the country, West Bengal police said that seven people have been arrested for defiling the Syama Prasad Mookerjee's statue. Reports suggested that the incident was apparently a tit-for-tat attack at BJP ideologue after party workers allegedly uprooted two Lenin statues in Tripura. Media reports also claimed that the miscreants were students of Jadhavpur university.

Latest reports say that a statue of BR Ambedkar in western Uttar Pradesh's Meerut was demolished by protesters on Monday. News18, however, reports that the administration in Meerut reacted swiftly and replaced the desecrated statue with a new one, ensuring that the law and order situation didn't go out of hand.

The news comes in the wake of several such incidents where statues of prominent political thinkers were defaced or desecrated. Speaking to reporters in Chennai, actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan said that no police is required to protect the statue of Periyar. "We, Tamilians, will protect Periyar," Haasan said in Chennai.

After Lenin's statue in Tripura and Periyar's statue in Tamil Nadu, bust of Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee was damaged in Kolkata's Chittaranjan Das Park inside Kalighat Crematorium on Wednesday morning.

The incident took place around 7am when a group of six students, claiming to be from the Jadavpur University’s ‘Radical’ students’ organisation, gathered in front of the park with placards condemning the vandalisation of Lenin statues in Tripura. Police said the six students have been detained.

Six people have been detained in Kolkata for vandalising the statue. The arrest comes at a time when the issue of vandalism of Periyar and Lenin's statue has reached the Parliament. An all-party meeting has been called at 1 pm to break the deadlock arising out of the issue.

After a BJP office in Tamil Nadu was attacked, party national secretary H Raja expressed regret for his Facebook post that said statues of rationalist movement founder EVRamasamy or Periyar would be razed to the ground in the state. Early on Wednesday a petrol bomb was hurled at a BJP office around 500 km from here in Coimbatore by unidentified persons.

Later in a fresh Facebook post on Wednesday, Raja expressed his heartfelt regret for his Tuesday's post, which he claimed was a message posted by his social media administrator without his permission and hence he had removed it.

Prominent right-wing ideologue's statue has come under attack. Syama Prasad Mukherjee's statue has been vandalised in Kalighat area of South Kolkata. Mukherjee was founder of Jan Sangh, predecessor of Bharatiya Janata party. Five people have been detained in connection with the incident by Kolkata Police.

The Union Home Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday and said that the ministry has taken serious note of such incidents of vandalism. Rajnath Singh has expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents, the statement further added. "MHA has asked the states that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents. Persons indulging in such acts must be sternly dealt with and booked under relevant provisions of law."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strongly disapproved incidents of vandalism reported from certain parts of the country, ANI reports. Incidents of toppling statues have been reported from certain parts of the country.

Two statues of communist icon Vladimir Lenin were brought down in South Tripura, the police said, as the CPM and its arch-rival in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, blamed the BJP for the incidents.

The statues were pulled down just days after the Left was defeated in Assembly polls by the BJP and its ally IPFT, which together won a two-third majority in the House in a state where the CPI(M) was in power for 25 years.

A five-foot high fibre glass statue of Lenin was toppled at Belonia yesterday, while a smaller figure was razed at Sabroom two days ago, district superintendent of police Monchak Ipper said.

Tripura chief minister-designate Biplab Deb has urged the people of the state to maintain peace and said anybody indulging in violence would be punished.

Statue vandalism updates After BR Ambedkar Periyar statues defiled demand rises to arrest vandals under NSA act

Protests in Tripura on Tuesday. Image: Ayub Sarkar/101Reporters

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to state Governor Tathagatha Roy and the director general of police, asking them to ensure peace till a new government was installed, an official said in New Delhi.

The demolition at Belonia evoked a sharp reaction from Trinamool Congress chief and Mamata Banerjee, who blamed the BJP and the RSS for the incidents.

Tripura CPI(M) district secretary Tapas Datta alleged that the statue, unveiled by the party's Politburo member and former general secretary Prakash Karat a few months ago, was razed by BJP workers yesterday at College Square in Belonia, about 110km from here.

"After pulling down the statue, slogans of 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' were raised,'' Datta told PTI.

Ipper said the driver of the JCB excavator machine allegedly used to bring down the Lenin figure at Belonia was arrested and a notice sent to its owner.

The statue would be handed over to the authorities of the Belonia Municipal Corporation, he said.

The incidents took a controversial turn with a tweet posted by Governor Roy.

''What one democratically elected government can do another democratically elected government can undo. And vice versa'', he tweeted.

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who criticised the incidents, described the tweet as "unfortunate".

''The tweet by the governor is unfortunate ... This shows how constitutional posts are being undermined," he said.

Asked by a TV news channel for his comment, Roy said, "'Yechury may go on making charges. It is not my duty to reply.''

Prohibitory orders were clamped on several areas of West Tripura district including - Srinagar, Lefunga, Mandai, Amtali, Radhapur, Arundhatinagar, Jirania, Mohanpur following post-poll violence, district magistrate Milind Ramteke said.

The CPI(M) accused the BJP and the IPFT of unleashing an "unprecedented reign of terror" across the state after the election results were announced on March 3.

Yechury alleged in Kolkata that 514 party activists have been assaulted, 1,539 houses of party activists attacked and 196 houses set ablaze in the last few days.

He also claimed 134 CPI(M) offices were attacked and looted, 64 party offices set on fire and 90 offices of mass organisations occupied by BJP-IPFT supporters.

The party top brass including Yechury and Politburo members Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat and Surjya Kanta Mishra led a rally in Kolkata, which ended in front of a statue of Lenin at Dharmatalla in the heart of the city.

Tripura CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar appealed to the state administration and the BJP to "stop the violence".

''In a democratic system a change of government is usual, but violence in such a grave form is not acceptable," he said.

The police today said it had received complaints of post-poll violence from various parts of the state since Sunday night.

Senior CPI leader D Raja said while one party may win and another party lose an election, it did not mean either could indulge in vandalism.

''Lenin is considered one of the tallest leaders of the world. We should have that respect,'' he told a TV news channel.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the RSS-BJP for their alleged involvement in the pulling down of Lenin's statues.

"It is not one's job to pull down the statue of an icon after coming to power in a state," she said at a public meeting in Bankura in West Bengal.

Tripura's BJP vice-president Subal Bhowmick had alleged yesterday that CPI(M) activists assaulted 49 BJP supporters, 17 of whom had to be hospitalised.

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