On 19 March, a statue of EV Ramaswamy (Periyar) was found vandalised in Tamil Nadu. It generated wide condemnation and criticism across the state. Superstar Rajnikanth and DMK chief Stalin voiced criticism for it and the DMK cadre in the town of Pudukkottai organised a protest.
However, Congress President Rahul Gandhi took it as another opportunity to blame the BJP and RSS. Yesterday Rahul Gandhi tweeted that after vandalisation of the Lenin statue in Tripura, the BJP and RSS are now vandalising Periyar statues in Tamil Nadu.
When the RSS & BJP encouraged the tearing down of Lenin statues in Tripura, they signalled their cadres to destroy statues of those who opposed their ideology, like Periyar, the great social reformer who fought for the Dalits. His statue too was destroyed today in Tamil Nadu. pic.twitter.com/vYpYYGtszj
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 20, 2018
Rahul Gandhi’s claim was again proved to be false today when a CRPF employee on vacation in his native town Pudukkottai was arrested and he confessed to the crime. The person named S Senthil Kumar, a head constable in the 150th battalion of CRPF has reportedly confessed to having committed the act in an inebriated state. He has been sent to judicial custody for 15 days and the statue has been restored.
Rahul Gandhi has not issued a comment or clarification yet.
As a matter of fact, blaming the BJP-RSS was not the only thing wrong in the Congress President’s tweet apparently. He had also claimed that Periyar fought for the Dalits and he was a social reformer. This has been refuted widely and there are many instances where Periyar’s version of ‘social reforms‘ and his views was stated to be in contrast to democratic and nationalist views of nation-builders like BR Ambedkar. Periyar had notions like fabrics becoming pricey because of Dalit women beginning to wear jackets and closing Dalits off educational institutions so that cheap labour remains available. The brutal incident of 44 Dalit women and children being massacred by their non-brahmin landlords in Kizhvenmani village in TN IN 1968 did not get any condemnation from Periyar.