A statue story from the south
Due to the absence of coverage in the mainstream english media (CNN-IBN is running yet another headline about who is greater King Khan or Big Bee). Here is a compilation from the vernacular print media about the recent events in the state of Tamilnadu. This time it has nothing to do with Dalits like in Maharashtra. You can see the difference between violence born of oppression and that born of hatred.
Read on – no comments offered. Just a direct translation, so excuse the sentence construction.
Credit to blogger Vichaarah for some of the pictures.
What happened ?
First an intro about the place for north Indians and foreign visitors to this blog. Srirangam (Tiruvarangam) is the oldest, largest, and arguably the most important of all temple complexes in India. It is an ancient structure, parts of which are atleast 1500-1800 year old, even the Silapadikkaram the ancient tamil epic refers to it. All of the alwars (vaishava saints) have sung in praise of it. It is a magnificient temple complex with various architectural styles, the sheer size and sculptures of the temple are awe inspiring. It doesnt matter what your religious inclination might be – the temple is there and it is a stunning reminder of the empires past such as Chola, and Vijayanagar.
Enter the statue. The tamil rationlist leader EV Ramasami Naicker also known as Periyar is the father of the atheist rationalist movement called the Dravidian movement. This forms the guiding ideology of the DMK and to a lesser extent the AIADMK (the AIADMK is not atheist). He had his positives, but he also broke several idols and garlanded statues of Ram with slippers. He also virulently hated brahmins and hindu temples in particular. Now his organization, Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) wants to install a life size statue of him right outside the main tower of the world renowned temple on Dec 16th. If you dont like temples because you are an atheist, fine – consider it to be a world famous historical site. Either way, this arguably provocative move ruffled the feathers of hindus (of all castes) . This led to some miscreants damaging the statue.
Picture : Periyar statue ready for inauguration right outside the main tower of the world famous Srirangam (Tiruvarangam) temple. (Pic source : Dinamalar)
This set off an unprecedented chain of violence against hindu temples and brahmins in the state. This is unreported or under-reported in the national news media.
1. Ayodhya Mandapam attacked with Petrol and Acid bombs (story)
Sri Ram Samaj also known as Ayodhya Mandapam is a well known Ram temple and religious centre in the heart of Chennai in West Mambalam. Around 330PM on Dec 8th around 15 dravidian activists allegedly descended on the temple in two autorickshaws with deadly weapons and shouted “Dont spare anyone who wears sacred thread, or marks on their head Tilak or Vibhuti, thrash them” at passers by. Then they proceeded to attack the temple. First they threw an acid bomb into the temple complex,the acid struck a screen which caught fire. When devotees rushed to douse the flames, the activists hurled a petrol bomb on the idol outside the temple and another inside the temple. They shouted this was in revenge for the damage caused to the EVR Periyar statue kept outside the world famous Sri Ranganath Swamy temple in Srirangam. Then they attacked a poor Brahmin Dhandapani who was selling pooja items outside the temple on the footpath with a wooden stick, they also did not spare Murali a flower seller.
Image : Petrol and Acid bomb attack on Ayodhya Mantap
2. Slipper garland for Sri Ram picture in Hosur
In Hosur in Krishnagiri district, a Sri Ram pattabhisekam (coronation) picture was garlanded with slippers and set on fire in the middle of the road. A bunch of activists belonging to Pudiya Jananayaka Munnetra Kazhagam (New Democratic Progressive Party) arrived at the Sri Ram temple near Gandhi Statue and shouted slogan condemning the damage to EVR Periyar statue in Srirangam. They then placed a Sri Ram picture outside the temple and garlanded it with slippers, they carried the picture in a procession before setting it on fire near the Gandhi statue. Hearing this BJP ,Hindu Munnani and RSS supporters arrived on the scene in hundreds. An altercation broke out between them and the Periyar supporters, in which the head of the person who set the picture on fire, Parsuraman was broken [sic] and it started bleeding. Following that BJP and its supporters blocked the roads and demanded action.
3. Salem Shankaracharya Mutt and vedic school ransacked (Story)
In Salems Maravaneri area, there is a mutt and vedic school run by the Kanchi Shankar Mutt. This was ransacked by a gang of dravidian activists to protest the damage caused to the EVR Periyar statue in Srirangam. Terrified priests rushed outside screaming. They proceeded to ransack the place,tables, chairs, pooja items were smashed and thrown all over the place.They smashed the pictures of Shankaracharya Jayendra and Vijayendra Saraswathis to pieces. They did not even spare the telephones, tubelights, or bulbs. Following this five activists belonging to Periyar Dravidian Party, Tamil Youth Party, Tamil National Party were arrested.
Image: Shankar Mutt ransacked. Pictures, pooja items, lights, furniture smashed in Salem(Source : Dinamalar)
4. Chemplast VP and 4 others attacked in Mettur
In condemnation of the Periyar statue damage, Chemplast Industries Vice President Parthasarathy and four others were attacked. Members belonging to the DK (Dravidar Kazhagam) were apprehended.
5. Sri Ram picture set on fire outside Srirangam temple (story)
In protest against the Periyar statue damage, about 50 members of Makkal Kalai Iyakkam (Peoples Art Org) brought a picture of Sri Ram and set it on fire outside the temple. Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani meanwhile announced that a 5.5 ft tall bronze statue of Periyar would now be installed outside the temple.
6. Lord Vinayak (Ganesh) statues descrated near Villupuram (story )
A vinayaka temple near the taluk office in Sankarapuram in Villupuram dist was vandalized and two Ganesh idols were uprooted and smashed by miscreants. Some activists belonging to the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam allegedly uprooted the idol and later smashed it and threw it outside the taluk office. Similarly, another temple (Shakti Vinayakar near the said Taluk office)was damaged, the vimanam tower and nandi statues were dismembered. This was to protest the damage done to the EVR Periyar statue in Srirangam. Townfolk lead by RSS and Hindu Munnani who came to pray in the morning were shell shocked. In the hundreds, the blocked the Tiruvannamanail-Kallakurichi road. The collector tried to pacify the group by they would not disperse until the miscreants were arrested. Police found a bit paper amidst the broken statues which claimed this was revenge for the damage caused to the Periyar statue and Ambedkar statue. No group has claimed responsibility. The idols are in police custody. Tension is prevailing in that area, and police are swarming the place.
Picture : Nandi, Vinayaka, and Gargoyle like guardian sculptures on temple dismembered near Villupuram (Source : Dinamalar)
7. Swami Dayanand Saraswathi made accused in FIR (story)
Tiruchi police have filed an FIR on Swami Dayanand Saraswathi in link with the Periyar statue case. A Periyar statue which was kept ready for inauguration by the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) president K.Veeramani was recently damaged by miscreants. In response to this, throughout Tamilnadu Dravidar Kazhagam (DK) and other associated outfits have launced attacks on Hindu places of worship. Police have included the leader and convenor of the Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha and renowned sanyasi Swami Dayanand Saraswathi as an accused. This is apparently based on information provided by four people who were apprehended. The police refused to comment on whether he would be arrested. Swami Dayanand Saraswathi also condemned the damage done to the statue and said this issue can be resolved peacefully. Swami Dayanand Saraswathi runs a vedic school called Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Anaikatti near Coimbatore. He was devotees and supporters all over the world. Subraminian Swamy condemned this FIR on the sanyasi for merely issuing a statement against the installation of the statue right in front of the world famous and ancient Sri Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam.
8. Raghavendra temple ransacked in Erode, devotees cry (story)
Priest and cook attacked and sacred thread cut
Picture above: The presiding deity thrown outside the temple in Erode (Pic source : Dinamalar)
Picture above : Priest whose sacred thread was cut
Pic above : Anguished devotee weeping in front of a picture of Sri Ram at Raghavendra temple Erode (all pics courtesy Dinamalar)
Raghavendra Brindavanam is located in the Kaarai Vaaykal area in Agraharam street in Erode. Today, arrangements were being made for the Sayarakshai Puja, devotees had just begun to trickle in when around 5.15 PM a group of Dravidar Kazhagam volunteers, entered the temple calmly. Suddenly they started attacking anyone in sight, and smashing anything they could get their hands on. Then they entered the sanctorum and removed the presiding deity Sri Ram which was between Sitadevi and Hanuman idols. They uprooted the idol and took it outside to the street and smashed it with a hammer. A priest Narasimhan attempted to stop the gang of 10 members, he was beaten up. 60 year old priest Venkatraman Acharya was assaulted and his kudumi (tuft of hair) was removed and hit sacred thread was cut. The temple cook Balaji and some others were also assaulted. The idols and pooja items kept ready for the evenings “Oonjal Sevai” were smashed. No robbery was committed and the Hundi was left untouched, it appears the sole purpose was to vandalize the temple. Upon hearing this hundreds of devotees surrounded the place. RSS and Hindu Munnani volunteers protested to the police. Some devotees started weeping publicly.Seven people of the Thanthai Periyar Dravida Iyakkam (Father Periyar Dravidian Party) have been detained in this connection.
9. State BJP leaders protest in Chennai
State BJP gen sec, Thamizisai Sounderrajan lead a BJP delegation to protest the
attacks on temples. AIADMK leaders SV Sekar and VP Kaliarajan met the victims and expressed sympathy.
10. DK President Veeramani asks for restraint
Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani on Friday appealed to people to exercise restraint. In a statement, he said nobody should take the law into their
hands and cause embarrassment to the State Government.