Newly erected statue of writer was awaiting government nod for inauguration
A newly erected statue of writer O.V. Vijayan awaiting government clearance for inauguration at Government Raja’s Higher Secondary School, Kottakkal, was found vandalised on Thursday.
The statue, which is part of a memorial being dedicated to Vijayan recreating a scene of his famous novel Khazakkinte Ethihasam, was found defaced with its nose and spectacles broken. The plastering from its lower lip and chin was also peeled off.
The monument, titled ‘Kooman Kavu,’ with a park and the statue inside, was set up on five cents of land by the teachers of the school as a tribute to the legendary alumnus.
It was caught in a controversy over the issue of permission by the municipal authorities as preparations were on for its inauguration by Malayalam University Vice Chancellor K. Jayakumar. The teachers had to suspend the unveiling of the statue when the Kottakkal municipality asked them if they had obtained permission for it. Soon a dispute erupted with some sections accusing the municipality of scuttling the project. Even allegations having communal tones were raised from certain quarters.
In the wake of the controversy, when the teachers formally applied for permission of the municipality, the municipal council on February 28 decided to refer the matter to the State government.
‘‘We have nothing against the monument. In fact, we want it there. We referred the matter for the State government’s clearance as it had already kicked up a raw,’’ said Bushra Shabeer, Kottakkal municipal chairperson.
While condemning the vandalism on the statue, Ms. Shabeer said that it was done by some vested interests with the intention of vilifying the municipality and the ruling front. She said the perpetrators had meant to destroy peace in the area.
The covered statue was found damaged when a newspaper photographer opened it on Thursday afternoon for a snap. Municipal authorities alleged a conspiracy behind the vandalism.
‘‘It is meant to demean us. Otherwise, why should one break the spectacles and nose of the statue’’ she asked.
CPI(M) State committee member P. Sreeramakrishnan, MLA, visited the monument along with party Central secretariat member A. Vijayaraghavan, and district leader E.N. Mohandas on Thursday evening. They condemned the incident.
Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) district secretary P. Abdul Hameed condemned the vandalism, saying it was against the cultural ethos of the district. He said the statue was vandalized with the intention of belittling the cultural tradition of Malappuram.
The O.V. Vijayan Smaraka Samithi has condemned the destruction of the statue of O.V. Vijayan.
In a statement in Palakkad on Thursday, samithi president U.K. Kumaran and secretary P.K. Narayanan said such incidents showed the cultural degradation of society.
Special Correspondent writes from Thiruvananthapuram: Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has termed the attack on O.V. Vijayan’s statue as ‘Talibanism’.
In a statement here, Mr. Achuthanandan called for stern action against those who had indulged in the ‘barbaric’ act and pointed out that the incident had happened well after the Education Minister’s party workers had tried to get the statue removed from the school campus.
In a separate statement, BJP State president V. Muralidharan termed the vandalism ‘Talibanism’ and sought action against those involved in the incident.