Periyar statue vandalised in Tamil Nadu's Chengalpattu; police begins probe

The police is investigating the matter and further details are awaited. 

Periyar statue vandalised in Tamil Nadu's Chengalpattu; police begins probe
File photo

Chengalpattu: A statue of Dravidian icon Periyar was found vandalised in Kaliyapattai village in Chengalpattu district of Tamil Nadu on Friday. Residents were shocked to see the statue's right hand and face damaged.

The damaged parts have been covered with clothes now. The police is investigating the matter and further details are awaited. 

The incident comes amid protests across the state condemning actor-politician Rajinikanth's remarks on the social reformer. On the 50th anniversary event of the Tamil magazine 'Thuglak' on January 14, Rajinikanth had reportedly said that at a rally in Salem in 1971 led by late Periyar, idols of Lord Ram and Sita were taken out without any clothes on them and that the deities also featured a garland of sandals. The actor claimed that then, no news outlet had published it. 

Following a widespread over his remarks, the actor later issued a statement, sticking to his remarks and refused to issued an apology to protesters. "There is a debate on an issue I spoke on and which happened in 1971. I didn’t speak on something that didn’t happen. I’ve only spoken on what was reported. Sorry, I won’t apologise," he said. 

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Several parties condemned Rajinikanth's statement and demanded an unconditional apology from him. On January 17, Dravidar Viduthulai Kazhagam filed a police complaint against Rajinikanth over his remarks against Periyar seeking action against him.

On January 20, five members of a fringe Tamil outfit were arrested in Madurai for burning an effigy of superstar Rajinikanth. The activists of Athi Tamizhar Peravai raised slogans and burnt an effigy of the actor, accusing him of spreading 'false' information about a 1971 rally to defame 'Periyar'.

K Veeramani, President of the Dravidar Kazhagam, founded by Periyar, said the actor will have to 'answer the court', for his remark.

Panneerselvam, the ruling AIADMK top leader, said Periyar's ideals cannot be found fault with. "It was Periyar who laid the foundation for even an ordinary man like me to occupy lofty positions," he said. Only after thorough research on the leader's work for the upliftment of the Tamil society, should anyone express their views, he said, virtually censuring Rajinikanth.