Chennai: A Facebook comment by a central government employee on a statue of former TN chief minister K. Kamaraj landed him jail on Monday. Commenting on the Kamaraj statue kept at the Tambaram Velachery road junction saying it should be removed as it causes traffic jams and that it ‘should be handed over to traders (or to commercial sex workers) to maintain it in their building’, attracted the wrath of authorities.
The man arrested has been identified as Jeyachandra Dhas, 51, a clerk in the central fisheries department who resides in East Tambaram. He commented on a photograph of Kamaraj’s bronze statue posted by Dr Ravikumar Stephan.
In his post, Stephan had said: “It pains me to see the statue of Perunthalaivar Kamaraj locked-up like this. In Thamizh Nadu, if the statue of Kamaraj has to be caged like this, it is a shame for every Thamizhian. Where are “Thamizh sentimentalist”? Do they think talking about Thamizh Eezham and against Mr Rajapaksa is the Thamizh sentiments? They are making a mockery of the Indian Thamizhs”.
The police had erected an iron cage around the statue to avoid any attempts at desecration, which is a common enough practice aimed at political leaders, past and present. Das had reacted to the post saying the statue at a vital junction is causing traffic jams on the road and it should be removed from there.
“It should be handed over to those traders or to commercial sex workers,” he wrote in his posted comment which was strongly objected by the local traders and those installed the statue there in 1992. “We received a complaint from one M Akbar, a Siddha doctor and based on it we arrested Das, a resident of Professors’ Colony. He was arrested for violating the public peace and tranquility and remanded to 15 days’ custody.