In the early hours of Friday, Dravidian idealogue and social activist Periyar EV Ramasamy’s statue situated in Sundarapuram in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district was dishonoured by a member of the fringe Hindu outfit Bharat Sena. Arun Krishnan, the south district organiser of the organisation, had poured saffron paint over the statue and fled the spot. He surrendered hours after the incident.
Locals and members of the political party, Periyar Dravida Kazhagam had gathered near the statue and staged a protest, demanding the arrest of the person behind the act.
Kuniamuthu Inspector Sakthivel said the incident took place at around 6 am. “As per the complaint we received, the incident took place at around 6 am. Police officers are stationed near the statue to avoid any untoward incident. The statue has been cleaned. We will take action against the miscreants,” he said.
Upon hearing of the incident, a group of members from Dravidar Kazhagam and Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TPDK) assembled in front of the statue and staged a demonstration demanding action. Deputy Commissioner (Law and Order) of Coimbatore City Police, G Stalin, visited the spot and assured them that appropriate action would be taken.
Police personnel were deployed in front of six statues of Periyar and three statues of BR Ambedkar in the Coimbatore City Police limits on Thursday evening, following the arrest of YouTuber Surenderan in connection with an allegedly derogatory video on Lord Murugan. Following this incident, police security was beefed up at all the nine locations and across the city on Friday morning in anticipation of retaliatory action, according to police sources.
Thoothukudi MP Kanimozhi took to Twitter and said even after decades, Periyar is still the one who sets the narrative. “He is not just a statue, but the path to self respect and social justice, including fir those who smear him with colours,” she tweeted.