On Friday it was the turn of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to condemn the saffronisation attempt on AIADMK founder MG Ramachandran’s statue in neighbouring Puducherry. In a statement, Palaniswami pointed out that MGR, as a secular leader still lives in the hearts of Tamils cutting across the barriers of religion and caste. “I urge the Chief Minister of Puducherry to book those behind the unlawful act,” he requested his counterpart.
The CM also noted that mischievous elements are misusing the freedom of speech by spreading cheap comments targeting public belief and faith or attacking the statues of late leaders. Such acts will not serve any political purpose, he said. Deputy Chief Minister and AIADMK convenor O Pannerselvam also condemned the act in his tweet.
“As most of the statues are related to political parties there is an unnecessary strain on the revenue and the police department who are busy with the coronavirus mitigation works. In the past one week four statues of Dravidian leaders have been subjected to desecration adding tension among tahsildars,” admitted a senior government official. Going by the track record the maximum vandalism has happened to the statues of Periyar and Ambedkar. Statues of Gandhi are the safest ones in the state. Unfortunately, last year even the statue of Tamil poet Tiruvalluvar was desecrated by miscreants at Pillayarpatti in Thanjavur, the official added.
According to informed government sources, there are more than 5,000 statues in the state and the majority of them are of the rational leader Periyar, followed by Dravidian leaders MGR and Anna. Three departments integrate to take care of these statues. Daily maintenance of the premises housing the statues are taken care by the local bodies, then regular anniversary and memorial days conducted to felicitate the late leaders are done by the Directorate of Information and Public Relations Department, sources said. In case of major restoration and maintenance of large-sized memorials with statues, the Public Works Department is the custodian of statues. Then there are private statues maintained by family members and trusts and again protecting these statues from miscreants is the job of the local police, official sources added.