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Hours after H Raja comment, Periyar statue vandalised in TN; 2 arrested

Two men, Muthuraman and Francis, arrested. Police say while Muthuraman is suspected to be a BJP worker, Francis is believed to be a CPI activist

Agencies | Vellore |

A statue of E V Ramasamy ‘Periyar’, social reformer and founder of Dravidian movement, was allegedly vandalised in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district Tuesday night, police said.
The incident, which the police claimed was perpetrated by two drunk men, assumed political significance as it came after a BJP leader indicated that statues of the rationalist leader could be the next to be pulled down, after one of Communist icon Lenin was razed by suspected BJP workers in Tripura Monday.
A senior district police officer said two people, identified as Muthuraman and Francis, damaged the bust at Tirupattur in an inebriated state.
The two were arrested, said the police, adding that while Muthuraman was suspected to be a BJP worker, Francis was believed to be a CPI activist.
BJP leader H Raja said in a Facebook post in Tamil earlier on Tuesday, “Who is Lenin and what is the connection between Lenin and India? What connection India has with Communists? Today Lenin’s statue removed in Tripura, tomorrow it will be the statue of EV Ramasamy in Tamil Nadu.”
The post was subsequently deleted. It drew condemnation from several political parties in the state. Political parties including DMK, MDMK and the Left lashed out at Raja, a BJP national secretary, with DMK working president M K Stalin leading the charge seeking his detention under the ‘Goondas Act’.
BJP’s state unit has distanced itself from the issue, saying it was Raja’s personal view.
Meanwhile, a petrol bomb was hurled at the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Tamil Nadu by unidentified persons early Wednesday, police said. The attackers had come in a three wheeler. Police are investigating the case.
In Chennai, DMK members protested against the vandalism of Periyar statue and demanded an apology from H Raja for his alleged “hate speech”.
Raja, meanwhile, has put up another post on Facebook regretting his earlier post that he had already deleted.