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With head, limbs severed, 'Lenin' finds shelter in Belonia's civic body premises

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi/Agartala 

An imposing statue of communist icon Vladimir Lenin, which was pulled down by a group of people in South Tripura's Belonia, was shifted this evening to the premises of the town's municipal body, a top official said.

The nearly 11-ft tall fibre glass statue, which stood on a pedestal at College Square, was brought down on Monday using a bulldozer.

"The statue was badly damaged in the incident, and its head and limbs got severed from the main body, after suffering a fall. We have collected the statue, and its separated body parts, and sent to the Belonia Municipal Council's premises for storage," the Council's Chief Executive Officer, Amit Ghosh, told PTI.

"It weighed nearly 20 tonne so we couldn't transport it using a crane, so an excavator was used to shift it. I have instructed the town supervisor to ensure the statue and other parts, are kept in the Council's store room, wrapped in cloth," he said.

Incidentally in Tripura, a smaller figure of Lenin was razed at Sabroom recently, and acts of vandalism were reported in other parts of the country too.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly condemned the incidents of vandalism of statues in the country and warned of stern action against those found guilty.

Ghosh also said that an "internal inquiry" in underway from the Council's side, and asserted that "no one should take law in their hands".

"Whatever happened is condemnable. Lenin is a world icon," the CEO said, adding that "there is no CCTV camera in the area where the incident took place".

Asked why the statue was not removed earlier, he said, "We initially let the damaged statue lay there, as it was, since we were not sure about the mood of the people. We wanted the situation to subside a bit. We did not want to do something that perhaps would have incited more people."

The statue was erected sometime around 2015 at the cost of nearly Rs 5 lakh and a local artist has sculpted it. The fund had come from the Tripura Urban Employment Programme (TUEP), he said.

"We want to repair the statue but that will also entail expenditure. If any person or any corporate entity wants to contribute any fund for the restoration of the statue, it is welcomed. Also, if any party wants to take the statue, we can also work that out," Ghosh said.

Lenin's statue was brought down at Belonia town, headquarters of South Tripura district, days after the BJP's victory in the Assembly elections in Tripura where a 25-year-long communist government was ousted. Belonia is located about 110 kilometre from Agartala.

The CPI(M) and its arch-rival in Bengal, the Trinamool Congress, have blamed the BJP for the incident.

"We have also shifted bricks and the civil material to the Council's premises. The traffic island on which the statue earlier stood has been damaged too," he said.

Asked if the statue will be reinstalled or another one would replace it, he only said, "At this point of time, nothing has been decided. We are also thinking of holding a town hall to let the local people decide of its fate."

On the situation in and around Collage Square, he said, "Situation now is normal."

Asked if there are more statues in the jurisdiction area of the Council, Ghosh said, "There is one of Karl Marx, located a bit far off. Then statues of Gandhi and Netaji are there in the main town.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 07 2018. 22:05 IST