Tamil Nadu: Hindu Makkal Katchi chief drapes Thiruvalluvar's statue with saffron shawl, triggers controversy
Days after it was found desecrated by some miscreants, a Tamil Nadu-based fringe Hindu outfit leader on Wednesday smeared 'holy' ash and draped a statue of saint-poet Thiruvalluvar near here with a saffron shawl following which police detained him.
Hindu Makkal Katchi president Arjun Sampath also performed pooja to the statue and adorned it with a rudraksha 'malai' (garland).
Cases have been filed against Sampath for causing tension in the area, police said.
He was detained and taken to the district office of the Superintendent of Police, they said but refused to confirm his arrest.
Police removed the shawl and also the garland.
Four police constables, who were maintaining vigil, have been suspended for allowing Sampath to smear the ash on the statue and drape it with a shawl, police officials said.
The policemen claimed they did not get any clear instructions from their officials whether to allow any person near the statue.
A large number of disciples of the saint-poet were present when Sampath offered prayers earlier.
Sampath told newsmen that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who knows about the greatness of Thiruvalluvar, has quoted from the great work of the saint-poet -- Thirukkural-- extensively in his speeches.
This showed Modi's love for the Tamil language and respect for Tamil poets, he said.
The Dravidian parties, including the DMK and DK, cannot tolerate this, he alleged.
Earlier, he paid homage to a statue of Chola emperor Raja Raja Chola and draped it with a shawl.
On November 4, miscreants desecrated the statue leading to outrage with opposition parties, including the DMK, and local people demanding action to bring the culprits to book.
The statue was found smeared with cow dung and eyes 'blindfolded' with what appeared to be a black paper at Pillayarpatti, about 12 km from here.
As soon as word spread about the desecration, local people took to the streets demanding immediate action to nab those involved.
Sampath condemned the desecration.
A row erupted last week when the twitter handle of the Bharatiya Janata Partys Tamil Nadu unit posted an image of Thiruvalluvar in saffron robes and holy ash smeared on his forehead, triggering widespread outrage.
Usually, the image of Thiruvalluvar is in white robes in State government offices without any religious symbols. Such photographs are widely used by others as well.
DMK chief M K Stalin had hit out at the BJP, asking it to not paint the poet in saffron and instead learn Thirukkural and change its attitude.
The Left parties too targeted the BJP for "saffronising Thiruvalluvar."
The BJP party leaders maintained that Thiruvalluvar had all along been in saffron robes till the DMK brought in the white robes in 1970.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)