Statue Wars: After Lenin, Periyar, statues of SP Mookerjee, Ambedkar vandalised
Two days after Lenin’s statue was razed in Tripura and a statue of Periyar was broken in Tamil Nadu, an idol of Dalit icon Bhimrao Ambedkar was vandalized in Uttar Pradesh late Tuesday night. The incident took place in Meerut district’s Khurd village. Senior district officials rushed to the spot and security forces were deployed in large numbers.
A bust of Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee was vandalised in Kolkata on Wednesday, allegedly by Left supporters, an obvious act of retribution following the razing of statues of Lenin in Tripura, officials said, amid the ongoing spate of incidents targeting statues and busts of known figures across the country.
Prime Narendra Modi has also expressed his strong disapproval of incidents of vandalism of statues and spoken to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the matter.
The home minister has appealed to political parties to ensure that those found desecrating statues are dealt with strictly.
Reacting to the violence spurting out of vandalism, the Home Ministry issued an advisory asking the states to be on alert. It has also directed the states to ensure the DM and SSPs are given personal responsibility to prevent any untoward incidents.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba had also spoken to the DGP and said all possible steps must be taken to maintain law and order, check violence and restore peace and public order. The ministry said enough central and state forces were available at the disposal of the state government to tackle the situation.
BJP chief Amit Shah termed the desecration of Lenin’s statues in Tripura and Periyar’s bust in Tamil Nadu “extremely unfortunate”, and asserted that any party member found involved in destroying a statue will face severe action.
In a series of tweets, Shah distanced the BJP from the vandalism after a few party leaders appeared to endorse the incidents, and said his organisation believes a wide range of ideas and ideologies can co-exist in India.
Opposition parties condemned the ‘shameful’ incidents of damage to statues in Tamil Nadu and Tripura, and hit out at the BJP, alleging that its members were becoming ‘intolerant’ and were ‘insulting’ the people, especially the poor.
With head severed, ‘Lenin’ to be kept at civic body premises in Agartala
An imposing statue of communist icon Vladimir Lenin, which was pulled down by a group of people in South Tripura’s Belonia, will be kept at the premises of the municipal body, a top official said on Wednesday.
The nearly 11-ft tall fibre glass statue, which stood on a pedestal at College Square, was brought down on Monday with the help of a bulldozer.