New Delhi: Terming the BJP intolerant, Congress party on Wednesday condemned the pulling down and vandalising of statues in different parts of the country including that of Periyar, considered the father figure of the rationalist movement in Tamil Nadu.
It also said damaging Periyar’s statue was an insult to the poor of the country.
The party slammed the BJP and said “in the name of Hindutva, they (BJP) want to promote Sanatan Dharm and Manuvaad in the country”.
“Pulling down and vandalising of Periyar’s statue is a big insult to not just the people of Tamil Nadu but to the entire country and those who follow his ideology. In a democracy, there are people from all ideologies but there is no tolerance among BJP people.
“They are becoming intolerant. Periyar fought for social justice. If anyone was responsible for giving political power to Dalits, backward class, and people belonging to the poorer sections, then it was Periyar,” said senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge.
He said that damaging Periyar’s statue was an insult to the poor of the country and primarily the women, because Periyar believed in social justice.
“People with vested interest and those who in the name of religion insult such rationalist leaders. People will not be quiet. After this governmemt came to power, such incidents are taking place everywhere and they are getting encouragement,” he added.
Kharge further said: “We can never tolerate this. For imposing their ideology on others, indulging in violence is not right.”
He also condemned the vandalising of statues of B.R. Ambedkar and Bharatiya Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee.
“Be it any statue, be it from any ideology, there should be tolerance in democracy. One should convince people by keeping their ideology in front of people. I condemn such hooliganism in any part of the country.”
Slamming BJP National Secretary H. Raja, he said: “Tamil Nadu BJP secretary is giving official statement that this statue can’t remain here, this ideology can’t be followed. Openly giving a challenge like this is even more condemnable.”
“Action should be taken against people who have damaged statues everywhere. One should not take law into their hands and do anything by scaring people because they think the central government is with them,” he added.
Two persons — one of them R. Muthuraman, a BJP member — were arrested in Thirupattur in Vellore for vandalising the statue of Periyar.