To prevent law and order problems arising out of the defacement of leaders’ statues, the Ariyalur district police and local body officials have fenced 135 statues in their jurisdiction. Stray incidents of defacement of statues in certain parts of the State, including Tiruchi and neighbouring Thanjavur district, have triggered widespread protests in recent weeks.
The Ariyalur district, encompassing Ariyalur and Jayamkondam sub-divisions, has 140 statues in total. Of them, 135 are in public places. Among them are statues of Tamil savant Tiruvalluvar, former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Mahatma Gandhi, B.R. Ambedkar, Periyar, Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, former Chief Ministers C.N. Annadurai, M.G. Ramachandran and Jayalalithaa and former Congress-cum-TMC leader G.K. Moopanar. Besides, there are five statues on private premises.
The district police, in association with local body authorities and with the cooperation of political parties, have installed fences around 135 statues, said V.R. Srinivasan, Superintendent of Police, Ariyalur. In some places, those who had installed the statues erected fences themselves, he added.
The Ariyalur police began the exercise in early September and completed it in a month, Mr. Srinivasan said.
In November last, a statue of Thiruvalluvar at Pillaiyarpatti near Thanjavur was defaced by miscreants. A statue of Periyar was defaced in Coimbatore in July this year. A Periyar statue was defaced at Samathuvapuram in Inamkulathur village near Tiruchi last month, sparking protests.
“The statues have a lot of sentiment attached to them and their defacement triggers instant protests, leading to law and order problems. The fencing put up around the statues is a major preventive measure that would thwart miscreants’ attempts to deface them. Further, the fencing acts as a first layer of defence,” Mr. Srinivasan said.