(G.N.S) Dt. 21
A CRPF jawan was arrested by the police for vandalising the statue of social reformer and Dravidian ideologue ‘Periyar’ EV Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu’s Pudukkottai district, according to media reports. The jawan later claimed that he was under the influence of alcohol. Contrary to the arguments of Dravidar Kazhagam office bearers that outsiders had damaged the Periyar statue, police arrested a resident of Pudukkottai Viduthi in connection with the incident. The accused has been identified as S Senthil Kumar (40). A resident of the village, Senthil Kumar has been serving with CRPF in Chhattisgarh since 1998. According to police, Senthil Kumar has reportedly confessed that he vandalised the statue under the influence of alcohol. He was produced before judicial magistrate, Alangudi and remanded at the Tiruchy central prison.
Protests erupted across Tamil Nadu on Tuesday after a statue of social reformer E V Ramasamy, (Thanthai Periyar) installed at a village in Pudukkottai was found damaged.An eight-feet Periyar statue, made of cement, was installed in Pudukkottai Viduthi, a village four kilometres from Alangudi. On Tuesday, a few locals found the head of the statue broken and placed nearby and DK cadre staged a protest demanding arrest of the perpetrators.
According to sources, DK had been running a public library in the village for the last four decades. In course of time, beneficiaries of the library decided to install a Periyar statue adjacent to the building. Accordingly, funds was collected from the entire village and the statue work commissioned by P Ravanan, zonal president of Dravidar Kazhagam. President of the Kazhagam K Veeramani unveiled it April 2013. Pointing out that the decision to install the statue was unanimously agreed by residents of the village, DK cadre alleged that outsiders had vandalised it to foment communal trouble. As news about damage to the statue spread, cadre of DK, DMK, MDMK, CPI, CPI(M) and VCK gathered at the spot and raised slogans against Hindu outfits.
A huge posse of police, led by S Selvaraj, SP, was deployed in and around the village to prevent untoward incident. The assembled in nearby Vadakadu village and staged an agitation condemning the damage of statue. By noon, former MLA Kavithai Piththan and former minister K Chandrasekaran led a procession of protestors to Pudukkottai Viduthi and took efforts to fix the severed head with the help of local masons and garlanded the repaired statue. Meanwhile, Ravanan and the villagers submitted a petition with Alangudi police demanding that the culprits be brought to book.
On information of the incident spread, around 100 cadres of DMK gathered at the new bus stand in Pudukkottai and blocked the exit of the bus stand. They were arrested and lodged in a marriage hall. Protest was staged in Keeramangalam also.In Thanjavur, DK cadres led by general secretary of the district unit R Jayakumar staged a protest in front of the old bus stand. Even as the protesters were raising slogans, few of them rushed to the BJP flag mast nearby and tried to burn the flag. Police arrested four persons. Meanwhile a BJP supporter raised slogans amidst the DK protesters following which a scuffle arose. Police intervened and escorted away the BJP supporter. As the road blockade continued the police arrested 30 members of BJP. In Tiruchy, cadre of Tamil Manila Congress, Dravidar Kazhagam DMK, SDPI, and TMMK staged a protest .
In a statement, DMK working president MK Stalin said it was a pre-meditated act of vandalism in Pudukottai on the day when a ‘Rath Yatra’ was entering Tamil Nadu. The AIADMK government should take stringent action against the perpetrators without delay and arrest the real culprits. The government should also invoke the Goondas Act against those who incite such violence. The DMK was prepared to launch protests to press the demand for punishing the culprits, he said. “The government should provide protection to all statues of Periyar. If it fails to do, DMK cadre, who have imbibed self-respect, dignity and wisdom from Periyar, will guard the statues without rest or sleep,” he said.
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