Statue of Rajiv Gandhi vandalised in Chennai (Second Lead)

October 24th, 2008 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Shivraj PatilChennai, Oct 24 (IANS) Unidentified people damaged a statue of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in the northern suburbs of this city Friday. In a separate incident, the office of the Janata Party in Madurai was attacked, officials said.Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, speaking on phone from New Delhi, claimed the attack on his party office took place at the behest of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

“Attackers claiming to be lawyers openly shouted anti-India slogans. The police, who were supposed to have guarded our offices, were conspicuous by their absence. The attack cannot have taken place without the blessings of Karunanidhi. There will be no peace in Tamil Nadu unless the DMK regime is dismissed forthwith,” Swamy said.

Letters demanding action against the DMK government have been sent to Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Swamy added.

A Janata Party spokesman said, on phone from Madurai, that the miscreants had virtually destroyed the entire office.

“Over a hundred people claiming to be lawyers broke every chair, table and tube-light in our office. They also assaulted me brutally. Since the police picket posted here for protection was removed, we were defenceless. For whatever it is worth, we have filed a complaint with the police,” the spokesman told IANS.

“The protestors shouted slogans vowing to chase all Tamil traitors like Swamy who were collaborating with the Sinhalese chauvinist regime in Colombo away from the borders of Tamil Nadu,” R. Nagaiyan, a witness said.

Gandhi, who was assassinated by a female suicide bomber in 1991, and Swamy are considered to be symbols against the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam - who are currently facing losses against the Sri Lankan army.

Meanwhile, over 500 workers of the MDMK were arrested for protesting against Thursday’s arrest of their leaders Vaiko and M. Kannappan on charges of sedition and asking for an armed struggle to support the Sri Lankan Tamils’ quest for a separate homeland, the police said.

Movie directors Seeman and Ameer arrested Friday have also been remanded to judicial custody and housed in the high security Puzhal prison here, where Vaiko and Kannappan were lodged Thursday night.

The Congress workers blocked traffic in the northern suburbs here to protest the damage to Rajiv Gandhi’s statue.

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