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Tamil Nadu tense after more instances of vandalism

Trouble erupted in several places in Tamil Nadu for the second day today following vandalism of a Periyar statue in front of the Ranganathasamy temple in Srirangam in Tiruchy.

Written by JAYA MENON | Chennai |
December 9, 2006 1:08:01 am

Trouble erupted in several places in Tamil Nadu for the second day today following vandalism of a Periyar statue in front of the Ranganathasamy temple in Srirangam in Tiruchy. Police took into custody 38 activists, including those belonging to the Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam, a splinter group of the Dravidar Kazhagam, founded by Periyar, in connection with incidents of desecration of religious places across the state.

There was tension in Chennai after miscreants hurled petrol bombs at Ayodhya Mandapam, a religious venue in congested West Mambalam. While one person suffered injuries in the attack, another outside the hall was assaulted with wooden clubs by the gang which fled soon after, police said.

Before hurling bombs inside the Mandapam premises, the gang shouted slogans against a particular community. A screen inside the hall, where devotional discourses and bhajans are held, caught fire and a picture of a deity was damaged. Later, BJP activists held demonstrations demanding police action and commercial establishments in the area downed their shutters.

In a statement late this evening, DGP D Mukherjee warned he would book those indulging in violence under the National Security Act. He said, “Some anti-social elements had indulged in violence, causing damage to places of worship, attempting to burn photographs of deities and assaulting some persons.’’ In this connection, 10 cases were registered against 38 miscreants who have been arrested and remanded in custody.

According to reports reaching here, an idol of Lord Ganesha was found damaged inside a small temple at Sanakarapuram, about 80 km from Villupuram in north Tamil Nadu. Temple priests discovered that the door to the temple had been forced open. Police said five TPDK activists were arrested, but the incident prompted angry locals to stage a road roko demanding action against the culprits.

Meanwhile, DK activists today removed the damaged cement statue of Periyar at Srirangam and replaced it with a bronze one. The vandalism of the yet-to-be-unveiled statue on Thursday triggered protests in several places in the state.

BJP leader H Raja, who visited Srirangam, condemned the attack on a Mutt in Salem last night, accusing the DMK of “providing least protection to Hindus and temples”. He condemned the inclusion of spiritual leader Swami Dayananda Saraswathi in the FIR filed in Srirangam in connection with the damage of the Periyar statue. He described as “totally absurd” the DMK government’s decision to grant permission to the DK to install the statue of Periyar, “an atheist who had used harsh words against Hindu gods”.

In Erode, a small idol of Lord Rama was damaged. Police took seven people into custody in connection with the incident. Meanwhile, the city-based Federation of Hindu Organisations has accused the state government and police of being “mere spectators and not taking action” against “DK elements and forces connected to them” who had “attacked” temples across the state. In a telegram to the President of India, the Federation sought his intervention.

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