A string of instances of vandalism have been reported from different states, ever since a statue of Vladimir Lenin was razed in Tripura, two days after the BJP-IPFT alliance swept the assembly polls on 3 March.
- A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was damaged by unknown persons in Thaliparamba area of Kerala
- The Centre has issued a second advisory to the states asking them to promptly investigate the incidents of vandalism of statues
- BR Ambedkar’s statue was vandalised by miscreants in Mawana close to Meerut
- Two statues of Lenin were vandalised in Tripura, while statues of Periyar and Syama Prasad Mookerjee were damaged in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, respectively
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has strongly condemned the vandalism of statues across the country
- The Tamil Nadu government said four people have been arrested in connection with the vandalism of the Periyar statue
- Seven arrests were made in the Syama Prasad Mookerjee bust vandalism case
- Three members of TDPK were arrested in connection with the attack on BJP’s office in Coimbatore
Paint Thrown on Ambedkar Bust in Chennai
Unidentified miscreants poured paint on the bust of Dr BR Ambedkar in Chennai’s Tiruvottiyur area on Wednesday night.
Now Mahatma Statue Damaged in Kerala
A statue of Mahatma Gandhi was damaged by unknown persons in Thaliparamba area of Kannur.
Security Tightened Around Key Statues in Delhi
Delhi Police has tightened security around key statues in the national capital as a precautionary measure in the wake of desecration of statues of communist icon Vladmir Lenin and Dravidian movement founder E V Ramasamy Periyar.
A senior police officer said the force had taken note of the incidents and SHOs of various police stations had been alerted to keep a vigil.
He said no specific alert had been received about the possibility of such incidents here but the move was a precautionary measure.
Centre Issues Second Advisory to Investigate Incidents of Vandalism & Take Action Against Culprits
The Centre has issued a second advisory to the states asking them to promptly investigate the incidents of vandalism of statues in some parts of the country, and arrest and prosecute the culprits, reported ANI.
The advisory asked States to investigate such incidents promptly and book the culprits accordingly, as it called for close and continuous monitoring of the situation and take all possible preventive measures so that such incidents do not happen in the near future.
The advisory further directs the states to make the concerned DMs and SSPs personally responsible to keep the law and order situation under control.
The advisory lists several measures to be taken including intensification of patrolling in sensitive areas, community policing and keeping a check on anti-social elements.
No Action Against H Raja Over Remarks on Periyar: Amit Shah
BJP President Amit Shah on Wednesday said the party will not take action against national secretary H Raja who is facing flak for his controversial remarks on Dravidian icon Periyar, reported PTI.
Asked if the BJP will take action against Raja, Shah told reporters outside Parliament, "No, we will not".
Taking to Twitter, Shah termed the desecration of communist icon Lenin's statues in Tripura and Periyar's statue in Tamil Nadu as "extremely unfortunate" and asserted that any party member found involved in destroying a statue will face severe action.
Shah's warning to party workers came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his strong disapproval over the vandalism.
Madras HC Tells TN Govt to Ensure Protection of Statues; 4 Arrests Made in Vellore Incident
The Madras High Court directed the Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday, 7 March, to provide protection to the statues of all leaders, asking the government to ensure that there is no breakdown of law and order. It also stressed on the need to ensure security of school children, reported ANI.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government said that four people have been arrested in connection with the Vellore incident, where a statue of Periyar was vandalised. It also asserted that adequate security is being provided to avoid any kind of law and order situation in the state.
What Will Happen to Lenin's Statue Now?
The nearly 11-ft tall fibre glass Lenin statue, at College Square, was brought down with the help of a bulldozer on 5 March. "We initially let the damaged statue lay there as it was since we were not sure about the mood of the people. We wanted to things to subside a bit. But, now, as per instructions from higher authorities, we have decided to take the statue and store it in our office premises," Belonia Municipal Council's CEO, Amit Ghosh told PTI.
He said, it has not yet been decided whether it will be kept indoor or outdoor at the Council's premises. "The head is severed from the main body of the statue, so it presents an ungainly sight. We will try to wrap it up in something. Whatever happened is condemnable. Lenin is a world icon," the CEO said, adding "there is no CCTV camera in the area where the incident took place".
The statue was erected sometime around 2015 at the cost of nearly Rs 5 lakh and a local artist has sculpted it. The fund had come from the Tripura Urban Employment Programme (TUEP), he said.
"We want to repair the statue but that will also entail expenditure. If anyone wants to contribute any fund for the restoration of the statue, it is welcomed. Also, if any party wants to take the statue, we can also work that out," Ghosh told PTI.
Protesting Students and Police Get into Scuffle in Madurai
Protests were held in Chennai, Salem, Madurai and other districts of Tamil Nadu over BJP leader H Raja’s Facebook post urging the razing of the Periyar statue. Members of the DMK, CPI and CPI(M) also burnt effigies of H Raja.
In Madurai, protesting students got into a scuffle with policemen as the police tried to arrest them. The News Minute quoted one protester as saying, “The police are acting like the agents of the BJP. We were protesting peacefully, but they decided to arrest us.”
Ambedkar's Statue Damaged in Mawana
A statue of BR Ambedkar was vandalised by miscreants in Mawana, near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, late on Tuesday night. The Dalit community held protests and blocked traffic in the morning. In a bid to quell the protests, the administration has vowed to install a new statue of the Architect of the Constitution.
Two Other TDPK Members Arrested Over Attack on BJP Office
Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (TDPK) workers Jeeva Nanthan and Gautham have been arrested over the attack on the BJP office in Coimbatore.
BJP Ministers Condemn Act of Vandalism
“We live in a democracy and have various ideologies. I condemn such attack on statues and incidents of violence,” Ananth Kumar, Union Minister said, condemning the recent cases of desecration of statues. Such “incidents cannot be justified,” HM Rajnath Singh said.
I appeal to all parties that anyone indulging in such (desecration of statues) acts should be dealt with strictly. These incidents can never be justified.Rajnath Singh, Home Minister
Tamilians Will Protect Periyar: Kamal Hassan
“There is no need to deploy police for protection of Periyar Statue. We Tamilians will protect it. I feel that this issue is just to divert attention from Cauvery issue,” Kamal Hassan told reporters.
TDPK Worker Surrenders Before Police
Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam(TDPK) worker Balu, who hurled a petrol bomb at a BJP office in Coimbatore, surrendered before the police.
PIL Against H Raja for Post on Periyar
A PIL has been filed in Madras High Court by advocate Surya Prakasam in the wake of BJP leader H Raja's Facebook post on Periyar's statue. The court has agreed to hear the case in the afternoon.
7 Arrested for Vandalising Syama Prasad Mookerjee Bust
Seven people have been arrested in connection to the vandalism of the bust of Syama Prasad Mookerjee in Kalighat in West Bengal.
"Six men and one woman in their early 20s who tried to deface the bust of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee have been arrested from the spot by Kolkata Police and strong legal action initiated," city police commissioner Rajiv Kumar said in a statement.
The police said the seven persons were members of the left-wing group called 'Radical'. A poster was also found from the spot with the word "Radicals" written on it, they said.
"A portion on the right side of the bust including its right ear, eye and cheek was damaged," the officer of the Tollygunj police station said.
BJP TN Worker Arrested for Damaging Periyar's Statue, Expelled From Party
BJP Tamil Nadu president Tamilisai Soundararajan expels party functionary R Muthuraman, who was arrested for damaging a statue of Periyar Thirupathur in Vellore district on 6 March.
D Jayakumar Condemns H Raja's Facebook Post
Tamil Nadu Minister for Fisheries D Jayakumar condemned H Raja’s Facebook post against Lenin and Periyar. “We strongly condemn his comments. This is land of Periyar, MGR and Amma, we will not accept his views. If he had not withdrawn his comments, we would have taken action,” he said.
Actor Sathiyaraj, who had played the role of Periyar in a film, demanded action against H Raja. He told reporters:
I strongly condemn what happened to brother Lenin statue at Tripura. The Tamil Nadu government should take action against H Raja whose statement says that Periyar statue will be removed as like as Lenin statue. Periyar is not a Name or statue or physical being. But it’s a philosophy and lives in our hearts as principle of working class people, eradication of caste and empowerment of women society. Fix the date and time, we the living periyar ready to face anybody who are all against Periyar.
D Raja Blames Instigating Facebook Message on His Page Admin
After posting an instigating message on Facebook about razing Periyar’s statues after Lenin’s statue, BJP National Secretary H Raja said he wasn’t responsible for the post. He blamed “one of his admins”, who he claimed put up the message without his permission.
The post on my Facebook page was done by one of the admins without my permission. As soon as I came to know about it, I deleted the post. We have to respond through statements and opinions, not through violence... I have no intentions of hurting anybody. Therefore, if anybody felt hurt by that post, I express my heartfelt regret. It is not acceptable to us to damage any statue of Periyar.H Raja, BJP National Secretary
“It is not correct to deface statue of Periyar. I request all of you to maintain peace and carry forward our views on hinduism in constructive manner so as to protect values of nationalism on the path shown by Muthuramalinga Thevar,” he wrote.
Vandalism Reaches Kolkata
The bust of right-wing icon Syama Prasad Mukherjee was vandalised in Kolkata’s Kalighat area. Mookerjee quit the Indian National Congress and founded the right wing nationalist Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a predecessor to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in 1951.
BJP’s West Bengal unit issued a statement condemning the act of vandalism.
BJP West Bengal condemns barbaric act of vandalising the statue of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh Bharat Keshri’s founder Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee at Keoratola Mohasoshan, Kolkata. We demand strong action against culprits.Sayantan Basu, General Secretary, WB BJP
“One incident of vandalism cannot be replied with another similar incident, we condemn both. We have arrested six people and we will repair it(SP Mukherjee's bust in Kalighat) as well,” WB Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay said referring to cases from Tripura where right-wing supporters damaged two statues of Lenin.
PM Strongly Disproves Incidents of Vandalism: MHA
The MHA said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed strong disapproval towards the incidents of vandalism of Lenin’s and Periyar’s statues reported from Tripura and Tamil Nadu.
“The Prime Minister also spoke to Home Minister in this regard and has expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents,” Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
The MHA has asked the states that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents.
BJP Office Attacked in Coimbatore, Hours After Periyar's Statue Vandalised
The BJP party office in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore was attacked by unidentified people with a petrol bomb in the wee hours of 7 March. The attack came hours after a statue of Periyar was vandalised in Vellore, ANI reported.
Police forces have been deployed around Periyar’s statues in Coimbatore.
Demolishing Statues Not Right But it is People's Anger: WB BJP President
West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh said on 6 March that the demolition of communist icon Vladimir Lenin's statues in Tripura was "not right", and called it an outburst of people's anger against the Left's alleged misrule.
The Left and the CPI(M) should be prepared for the onslaught of the masses as they have to pay for their "sins" of 25 years' rule in Tripura, he said.
"Demolition of statues is not the right thing. But you have to understand one thing that Lenin's statue was pulled down in Russia after end of communist rule. This is nothing but an outburst of people's anger against the misrule of the Left," Ghosh told reporters.
After Lenin, Periyar Statue Attacked in Tamil Nadu
Less than 24 hours after the BJP in Tamil Nadu stoked controversy by threatening to vandalise statues of social activist and politician EV Ramasamy, a statue of 'Periyar' was vandalised in Vellore.
According to the police, the act of vandalism occurred at around 9:15 in Tirupattur in Vellore district on Tuesday.
BJP National Secretary H Raja also warned that the statues of Periyar would meet the same fate as the Lenin statue.
In a Facebook post, he wrote: “Who is Lenin? What is his connection to India? What is the connection of communists to India? Lenin’s statue was destroyed in Tripura. Today Lenin’s statue, tomorrow Tamil Nadu’s EVR Ramaswami’s statue.”
Several other members of the BJP in the state, including Vice President of the BJP Youth wing SG Suryah, made similar observations.
In his tweet, Suryah wrote: “BJP successfully completed the fall of Lenin in #Tripura! Can’t wait for the fall of EV Ramasamy statues in Tamil Nadu.”
These tweets have been shared by several BJP supporters as the country inches closer to rooting out parties whose ideology differs from the ruling and dominant right-wing discourse.
Another Lenin Statue Brought Down in Tripura
A second and smaller statue of Vladimir Lenin was brought down at Sabroom in Tripura on Sunday, 4 March, district superintendent of police Monchak Ipper told PTI.
Tripura's Next CM Urges for Peace, CPI(M) Members Stage Protest March in Kolkata
CPI(M) members staged a protest in Kolkata on Tuesday, 6 March, after a statue of Lenin was brought down in Tripura.
Meanwhile, Tripura's chief minister-in-waiting, BJP's Biplab Kumar Deb, has urged the people to maintain peace, saying nobody would be spared if they engage in violence.
Yechury Slams BJP-RSS For Tripura Violence; BJP Says it 'Doesn't Practice Culture of Violence'
Reacting to the incidents of violence in Tripura, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said:
The violence in Tripura clearly indicates the tendency of the RSS-BJP. They don’t have a political future, apart from engaging in violence. The people of Tripura will give an answer.Sitaram Yechury
Meanwhile, BJP leader Nalin Kohli asserted that his party "does not ever practice culture of violence".
In places like Tripura, Left parties have chosen to be silent about 11 BJP workers who were killed. Some of those who support Left parties are trying to foist these kind of debates that a statue is removed.Nalin Kohli, BJP
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar alleged that nine BJP workers in Tripura "were killed because of Marxists".
Section 144 Imposed, Three Arrested in "Post-Poll Violence"
Cases of sporadic violence have been reported from Tripura, less than two days after the BJP-IPFT alliance toppled over the 25-year-old rule of the CPI(M) in the state, ousting the Manik Sarkar government in the Assembly elections.
On 6 March, Section 144 of the CrPC was imposed in certain areas, after reports of clashes between rival political groups in different parts of the state.
According to NDTV, three people have been arrested in what the police described as "post-poll' violence.
"The cases include arson at two CPI(M) offices at Sidhai area in West Tripura district, 25 km from Agartala, and clashes between CPI(M) and BJP supporters at Kadamtala in North Tripura district", the Superintendent of Police (Control) Pradip De told PTI.
Rajnath Singh Intervenes
Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the Tripura governor and the DGP on 6 March, asking them to ensure peace till a new government is installed, an official said.
CPI(M) Workers Allegedly Attacked, Party Offices Vandalised
CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar claimed that 514 party activists were assaulted, 1,539 houses of the party activists were attacked and 196 houses set on fire since the announcement of results.
He also claimed that 134 CPI(M) offices were attacked and looted, 64 party offices were set on fire and at least 90 offices of different mass organisations had been occupied allegedly by BJP-IPFT supporters.
"I appeal to the state administration and the ruling parties to stop this violence. In a democratic system, change of government is usual, but violence in such grave form is not acceptable by the people," Dhar told PTI.
The BJPs' state vice president Subal Bhowmick, at a press conference, told PTI: "A section of unidentified BJP supporters, who have migrated from the CPI(M) were creating unrest in parts of the state. Anyone found involved in violence would be immediately expelled and legal action taken against them".
He alleged that CPI(M) activists had assaulted 49 BJP supporters, of whom 17 were hospitalised.
Lenin Statue Razed Down by Right-Wing Supporting Vandals
On 6 March, a video emerged showing right-wing supporters razing down a statue of communist icon Vladimir Lenin with an excavator machine in the state’s Belonia town. The video shows the statue, located in the Belonia College Square, being torn down by people wearing t-shirts reading “Chalo Paltai”, while raising chants of “Bharat mata ki jai.”
The act was initially lauded by none other than the BJP’s national general secretary, Ram Madhav who tweeted (and later deleted the tweet) in favour of the act.
Even the Governor of Tripura, Tathagata Roy seemed to have been in support of the violent act.
Tripura CPI(M) district secretary Tapas Datta said the five-feet-tall fibre glass statue, which was unveiled by the party's politburo member Prakash Karat a few months back, was pulled down allegedly by BJP workers on Monday, 5 March, at College Square in Belonia, about 110 kilometre from Agartala.
Superintendent of Police of South Tripura district, Monchak Ipper said the driver of the JCB excavator machine was arrested and later released on bail.
The statue would be handed over to the authorities of Belonia Municipal Corporation on Tuesday, the SP had said.
A number of other citizens, including politicians from other parties expressed shock at the violent nature of the act, which came just two days after the BJP’s victory in the state, stating that it was an indicator of the times to come.
The CPI(M) accused the BJP and the IPFT of unleashing an "unprecedented reign of terror" throughout the state after the election results were announced on 3 March.
CPI(M) state secretary Bijan Dhar claimed that 514 party activists were assaulted, 1,539 houses of the party activists were attacked and 196 houses set on fire since the announcement of results.
JD(U) MP Harivansh also condemned the incident. He told ANI, "This is wrong. People of this nation believe in different ideologies. It is true that Lenin's statues were demolished after end of ruling in Russia. But India is not Russia, all ideologies should be supported here. Lenin brought a huge revolution in 1917 for poor."