A statue of social reformer Periyar EV Ramasamy was found splashed with a saffron-coloured liquid in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore city on Friday, The Hindu reported.

The incident took place early morning in Coimbatore’s Sundarapuram area, unidentified policemen told the newspaper. On Thursday, the police had been deployed near six statues of Periyar and three statues of BR Ambedkar after uproar over a derogatory video made by a man about Lord Murugan.

Members of the Dravidar Kazhagam and Thanthai Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam staged a protest at the spot and demanded action against the people responsible for defacing the statue. Coimbatore Deputy Commissioner G Stalin came to the area to pacify the crowd.

Periyar’s supporters and the police together removed the saffron colour from the statue’s right arm and waist, according to PTI.

The leaders of several political parties in Tamil Nadu expressed outrage over the incident. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin referred to those who defaced that statue as “small men” and said that Periyar had slogged for people like them too, according to the news agency.

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Vaiko criticised the repeated targeting of Periyar’s statues in Tamil Nadu and demanded that the government take action against people behind the defacement. Pattali Makkal Katchi, an ally of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party, called the incident an act of cowardice.

Another Periyar statue defaced

Another statue of Periyar was defaced in Tamil Nadu’s Thirukoilure town. The police told The Hindu that some people had put a garland made of footwear around the statue’s neck.

The incident led to protests by DMK members. The residents of area had noticed the garland and alerted the police.