Police said unidentified persons dropped a tyre on the statue of Dravidian movement icon EV Ramasamy, fondly called as Periyar, poured petrol and set it on fire at around 3 am. The incident triggered tension after villagers and members of various organisations staged a road blockade protest demanding the arrest of the accused.
The statue was placed on a pedestal at the entrance of Samathuvapuram village in Kattinayanapalli panchayat, where about 100 families are residing. Police said two persons who came on a two-wheeler had desecrated the statue.
A few villagers who noticed it and raised an alarm. However, by then the duo sped away on their vehicle. On receiving information, the Maharajakadai police led by inspector Ganesh Kumar rushed to the spot and removed the burnt tyre. Also, arrangements were made to repaint the statue and it was garlanded.
Meanwhile, the people from Samathuvapuram village squatted in front of the statue demanding the arrest of the culprits. They were soon joined by members of Dravidar Kazhagam, DMK, SDPI and other outfits. The police pacified and convinced them to withdraw the protest.
The villagers lodged a police complaint demanding stringent action against the perpetrators of the offence. They also urged the administration to install a new statue of Periyar and also erect a fence surrounding the bust to prevent such incidents.