It started with the bulldozing of a statue of Vladimir Lenin in Tripura after state Assembly elections, and is continuing till date. A statue of Dravidian movement ideologue ‘Periyar’ EV Ramasamy was damaged in Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, reacting to which Congress president Rahul Gandhi has once again hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Taking to microblogging site Twitter, the Congress chief accused the BJP and the RSS of encouraging the “tearing down of Lenin statues in Tripura”. He added that they “signalled their cadres to destroy statues of those opposed” to their ideology.
He tweeted, “When the RSS & BJP encouraged the tearing down of Lenin statues in Tripura, they signalled their cadres to destroy statues of those who opposed their ideology, like Periyar, the great social reformer who fought for the Dalits. His statue too was destroyed today in Tamil Nadu.”
When the RSS & BJP encouraged the tearing down of Lenin statues in Tripura, they signalled their cadres to destroy statues of those who opposed their ideology, like Periyar, the great social reformer who fought for the Dalits. His statue too was destroyed today in Tamil Nadu. pic.twitter.com/vYpYYGtszj
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 20, 2018
A sculptor of Periyar was beheaded by unidentified persons on Tuesday, following which a case was registered. The investigation is underway. Periyar was a social activist and a politician who started the Self-Respect Movement and Dravidar Kazhagam.
Earlier in March, two persons – one from BJP and the other from CPM – were arrested in Tirupattur in Tamil Nadu for vandalising a statue of Periyar.
Last week, a statue of Syama Prasad Mukherjee was found vandalised in Assam's Kokrajhar. Earlier this month, another statue of the Jana Sangh leader was damaged in Kolkata's Jadavpur University. Seven people were also arrested in connection with the incident.
Also, a life-size statue of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, a prominent poet during the 19th century Bengal renaissance, was found defaced in Raniganj of West Bengal's Purba Bardhaman district. According to police and eye-witnesses, Dutt's face was smudged with red colour by unknown miscreants. The incident triggered condemnation in the political circles as also among the locals.
There have been several incidents of statue vandalism in various parts of the country since the results of the Tripura Assembly came in wherein the BJP toppled the CPM government.
Soon after the results, two statues of Vladimir Lenin was demolished in Tripura – one razed by a mob at Sabroom Motor Stand in Agartala and another by a bulldozer at Belonia College Square in a Tripura town.