Coimbatore

Periyar, Ambedkar images removed from school wall

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Wall whitewashed after a community objected to the images

Pennagaram police whitewashed the walls of a school that contained the images of national leaders, after members of a community objected to the pictures of Periyar and Ambedkar, here on Saturday.

The incident came to light after a video posted on Facebook showed policemen guarding two men whitewashing the freshly painted images of Ambedkar and Periyar, even as the Scheduled Caste residents of the village objected to the act.

Four months ago, an AIADMK president of a local cooperative society took permission from the headmaster of the Panchayat Union Middle School, Arangapuram, in Anjehalli in Pennagaram to paint images of Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Bharathiar, Jawaharlal Nehru, Thiruvalluvar and Abdul Kalam on one of the walls and they were painted.

According to Shaktivel of Thozhilalar Vidudalai Munnani of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, students from Scheduled Caste community wanted the images of Ambedkar and Periyar too on those walls. “The school headmaster gave us permission and we started painting on the other wall only now, on November 26.” The village headman belonging to an intermediary lodged a complaint with the Pennagaram station threatening caste violence if the images were allowed to remain on the walls, he said.

“They took no offence for 4 months, when the walls were painted with the portraits of the national leaders. But, images of Ambedkar and Periyar are offensive to their eyes? Ambedkar is boxed in as a caste leader and not as a national icon, who framed the constitution,” said Mr.Shaktivel,

Alongside, the images of Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose, Abdul Kalam, Bharathiar, Thiruvalluvar and Nehru were also whitewashed off the walls on Saturday.

The Inspector of Pennagaram police station, himself named Periyar, said when contacted over phone: “True, there was no problem for four months, but they raised an issue only after Ambedkar and Periyar’s images came up on the wall. They say they want wall portraits of caste leaders including Muthuramalinga Thevar and Theeran Chinnamalai. They accept even Periyar, but not Ambedkar, on the wall. Only you and I see Ambedkar as national icon, they don’t. So, we decided to whitewash all the images, from Gandhi, Bose to Ambedkar,” said the Inspector.

“I’ve spoken to the tahsildar. We’ll try and have an amicable solution to this soon,” Mr. Periyar said.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 3:32:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/periyar-ambedkar-images-removed-from-school-wall/article30126568.ece

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