Residents of a Samathuvapuram or equality village in Trichy district's Jeeyapuram woke up on Sunday to see a statue of Periyar within the premises doused in saffron paint. Residents immediately complained to the Ramjee Nagar police station which is investigating the incident.
"The incident has happened at close to 3.30 am but there are CCTVs in the area. So this means that we cannot immediately identify who is responsible. We are however conducting our enquiries," says an investigating officer.
The investigating officer further tells TNM that the Samathuvapuram had seen tensions over the last few months. Reports also indicate that the miscreants garlanded the bust with chappals.
A group of people from the Samathuvapuram kept a Vinayakar statue inside and there was a tussle because photos and statues of gods are not allowed in the premises," says the officer. "This was resolved just a while back," he adds.
Samathuvapuram are living spaces where residents live without division based on caste or religion. The scheme was announced in 1997 by the DMK government to promote equity and the name itself translates to 'a place of equality'. For the DMK, Periyar is an important figure who led the anti-caste movement that paved the way for their ideological platform.
The desecration of Periyar statues across Tamil Nadu is however not new and has been happening in various districts by right wing elements and fringe groups for over two years.
DMK MP Kanimozhi condemned the desecration and went on Twitter to point out that the leader was disrespected through the saffron paint. She stated that DMK Tamil Nadu chief L Murugan had said on Periyar's birth anniversary that the Dravidian leader was someone who worked for society and that the BJP had no hesitation in celebrating him.
(This article was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)