TN statue row: BJP office, Brahmins attacked, Raja expresses regret

Screenshot of SG Suryah's tweet

A day after disowning his controversial Facebook post advocating the removal of statues of Dravidar Kazhagam founder Periyar E.V. Ramasamy, BJP national secretary H. Raja triggered a fresh row on Thursday claiming that it was Periyar who coined the term Dravidam "to undermine Tamil" and to put an end to linguistic chauvinism. Especially at a time when BJP is failing to make inroads into Tamil Nadu, this is really a blow.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Marxist Party of India (CPM) supporters charged the 11-foot statue in College Square, South Tripura, just 48 hours after the official assembly election results confirmed their victory. "We as a party do not support the bringing down of anybody's statue", BJP president Amit Shah wrote on Twitter.

"The prime minister spoke to home minister Rajnath Singh in this regard and expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents".

"The prime minister himself told me that he would come and see our swearing-in ceremony", Biplab Deb, BJP Tripura president and chief minister designate, said to THE WEEK.

"All statues are to be protected", said Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Indira Banerjee, hearing a PIL filed by advocate Surya Prakasam.

Unidentified persons vandalised a statue B R Ambedkar in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut district, about 500 km from here, triggering tension in the area.

Sources said that security had been beefed up around the statues of dalit icons in different parts of the state.

Mr. Raja said he had already clarified his position on the Periyar statue remarks and there was no need to respond again to individual comments.

"MHA (ministry of home affairs) has asked the states that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents.", the spokesperson said.

The statue of Periyar, located inside the Tirupattur corporation office in Vellore, was targeted. "Today it is Lenin's statue in Tripura, tomorrow it will be the statue of caste fanatic EVR Ramasamy", he wrote on his Facebook.

'Who is Lenin? What is his connection to India?

"I appeal to everyone, all parties, that anyone indulging in such acts should be dealt with strictly".

BJP for the "indecent" act, the latter has denied this, saying it "does not practise the culture of violence". The DMK workers tried to snatch it from police.

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