PM warns of stern action as statues of more icons razed

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 08 Mar 2018 08:58:50


 

Delhi Bureau and Agencies,

KOLKATA/CHENNAI/NEW DELHI,

Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s bust vandalised in Kolkata while Ambedkar’s statue damaged in Meerut

Amit Shah terms the incidents ‘extremely unfortunate’


A BUST of Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was vandalised in Kolkata on Wednesday, close on the heels of desecration of Lenin and Periyar’s statues, drawing strong condemnation and warning of stern action from Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the culprits.
Even as a political firestorm raged over desecration of statues of political icons and social reformers over the last couple of days, the bust of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was damaged by activists of Left-leaning outfit ‘Radical’ in south Kolkata, officials said.


The incident was an act of retribution following the razing of statues of Soviet icon Vladimir Lenin in Tripura, one of which was bulldozed by alleged right-wing activists chanting “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.


All seven people involved in the desecration of Mukherjee’s bust, including a woman, were arrested, Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said. The unseemly incidents of Tripura were followed by desecration of a bust of revered Dravidian movement founder E V Ramasamy Periyar in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore after a Facebook post by a senior BJP leader. The incident triggered widespread protests across the State on Wednesday.


A statue of B R Ambedkar was damaged by unidentified people in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut on Tuesday, triggering protests by Dalits. The protests at Mawana were called off after the district authorities assured them a new statue of the Dalit icon will be installed.


The spate of desecration of statues and busts of reformers and political legends prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strongly condemn such incidents. He warned of stern action against those indulging in vandalising the statues. The PMalso spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh about it and expressed his strong disapproval of such incidents, according to an official statement in New Delhi.
“The MHA has asked the States that they must take all necessary measures to prevent such incidents,” a Home Ministry statement said, adding the State Governments were told to sternly deal with the offenders.


“I appeal to everyone, all parties, that anyone indulging in such acts should be dealt with strictly. These incidents can never be justified,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters outside Parliament.


BJP chief Amit Shah termed the incidents “extremely unfortunate”, and asserted that any party member found involved in such acts 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.


“The recent issue on destroying of statues is extremely unfortunate. We as a party do not support the bringing down of anybody’s statue. I have spoken to the party units in both Tamil Nadu and Tripura. Any person associated with the BJP found to be involved with destroying any statue will face severe action from the party,” he said. He, however, said the BJP will not take action against its national secretary H Raja, whose controversial Facebook post was seen to have incited party activists to vandalise Periyar’s bust.


However, the Tamil Nadu unit of the BJP expelled party worker R Muthuraman, who was arrested on Tuesday for damaging Periyar’s bust.
An under-fire Raja, however, blamed the staff managing his Facebook account for the controversial post and voiced regret. In the Facebook post that was later deleted, Raja had said: “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”. He said his “Facebook admin” had put up a post comparing the razing down of Lenin’s statue in Tripura to that of Periyar.