Thanjavur: Tension prevailed as an unidentified gang allegedly smeared mud on a statue of Tamil poet and philosopher Thiruvalluvar at Pillayarpatti in Thanjavur on Monday. The figure is located near a building owned by Pillayarpatti Panchayat, and on Monday, it was found blindfolded with mud smeared all over.
The district police control room received a call on Monday morning about the incident. Shortly after, a team of police officers rushed to the spot and cleaned it.
However, as the news broke, several people protested, urging action against the miscreants, while the police force was strengthened to avoid any untoward incidents from being reported. Following the incident, agitations were reported in Thanjavur and Thiruvaiyaru. Tamil Nadu University students boycotted classes, seeking action.
The incident happened after debates were triggered as the BJP’s Tamil Nadu Twitter handle shared a photo of Thiruvalluvar dressed in saffron and vibhuti, indicating that the Tamil poet was a Hindu. This evoked criticism from many political parties and the hashtag #BJPInsultsThiruvalluvar was trending in the social media platforms. DMK president MK Stalin termed the tweet as a “Tamil betrayal”. Whatever type of colour is dyed, your colours will be exposed,” Stalin tweeted. “Instead of saffronising, read Thirukkural and try to reform,” he added.
This argument between BJP and DMK started on Friday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi released a book on Thirukkural in the Thai language in Bangkok. After which the saffron party’s Tamil Nadu unit tweeted a picture of Thiruvalluvar wearing saffron robes with ash smeared on his forehead and a rudraksha around his neck.
தஞ்சை பிள்ளையார்பட்டியில் திருவள்ளுவர் சிலை மீது சாணம் வீச்சு.
This act is highly condemnable. This is an attack on Hinduism.
— Lt Col N Thiagarajan (@NThiagarajan4) November 4, 2019
On Monday, the AMMK leader TTV Dinakaran condemned the issue. He tweeted, “Thiruvalluvar statue is above and beyond caste, religion and language. Everyone celebrates him. The controversy surrounding Thiruvalluvar statue at his birthplace here in Tamil Nadu is unnecessary and unavoidable.”