Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the party’s activities in the North East, has claimed that communist icon Lenin’s statue was not vandalised in Tripura. Madhav, who made the remark in an interview to the Hindustan Times, said the party should have underplayed the incident.

“The statue was put up by private individuals,” he said. “They decided to remove it. They got a JCB [excavator] machine to do it. If you see the picture too, it was pulled down, not vandalised. There is no complaint, no FIR [first information report], no arrest.”

Madhav compared the incident to a person removing a photograph that he or she does not like anymore. The real vandalism, he claimed, happened elsewhere, and added that the BJP “shall not support or sponsor vandalism of any sort”.

After suspected BJP workers brought down Lenin’s statue in Tripura’s Belonia town on March 5, several statues were vandalised elsewhere in the country. Another suspected BJP worker defaced a statue of social reformer Periyar in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore town the next day. Seven people were arrested in Kolkata on March 7 for damaging and defacing the bust of Jana Sangh leader Syama Prasad Mookerjee. A statue of BR Ambedkar was also vandalised in Meerut’s Mawana Khurd.