Hindu uprising in Tamilnadu;Provocative Statue brought down

via http://www.newstodaynet.com published on December 7, 2006

Provocative positioning provokes provocative action

Periyar statue brought down

NT Bureau
Tiruchi, Dec 7:

A yet-to-be unveiled statue of Periyar, placed provocatively in front of Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple at Srirangam, was demolished early this morning allegedly by some members of Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) which has trigerred a chain of reaction.

The town began witnessing anxious moments since early this morning and the incident sparked angry protests by Dravida Kazhagam (DK) and a couple of buses were pelted with stones ‘condemning the demolition’. The DK also resorted to a road roko in protest against the destruction of the statue.

The installation of the statue which was mired in legal wrangling and also faced stiff opposition from many who felt offended by it in a place steeped in religious heritage. It was no doubt a provocative presence.

The statue was planned to be unveiled on 9 December by DK leader Veeramani. State Ministers Nehru, Selvaraj, Tiruchi Mayor Charubala were among other dignitaries who were to take part in the opening ceremony.

Against this backdrop, the head portion of the statue was destroyed early this morning and the police arrested Manickam, (Deputy district president) Rajasekaran, (District youth wing secretary) Sendilkumar, (District secretary) and Block secretary Sujith on charges of demolition of the statue.

Meanwhile, four policemen attached to the town police station have been suspended for being ‘negligent’ and senior police officials including deputy commissioners Rajasekaran and Lakshmi and several battalions of armed police have been positioned across the town in view of reports of stone pelting and sudden road rokos.It may be recalled that a division bench comprising Justices

D Murugesan and P Murugesan of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a devotee seeking stay on installation, asked the Thanthai Periyar Statue Installation Committee (TPSIC) to ‘wait for permission from the government for unveiling the statue.’

It was argued that a statue in front of the temple would infringe upon the right to freedom of religion guaranteed under Article 25 of the Constitution. Moreover, the Act would also attract various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the City Police Act.

It is not known whether TPSIC had obtained the government’s sanction to unveil the statue.

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