Chennai, Feb 20 (PTI) The arrest of Congress MP S Jothimani in Karur on Saturday evoked strong protest from the Congress and DMK, which condemned the 'repressive action' and 'heavy handedness' of the police in forcibly removing the leader agitating against removal of Mahatma Gandhi's statue.
While DMK MP Kanimozhi, representing the Thoothukudi constituency, claimed that the arrival of chief minister K Palaniswami to Karur had triggered the police to indulge in the 'shameful action,' Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) chief K S Alagiri alleged that the police handling was 'repressive' and 'inhuman.' The Karur Congress MP was arrested for allegedly staging a protest against the decision to remove the bust-sized statue of Mahatma Gandhi and replace it with a new bronze sculpture.
Citing renovation, the Karur municipality removed the statue and the new statue has been readied for inauguration on February 21.
'I condemn this heavy handedness by the police in arresting Congress MP Jothimani and DMK party workers who were protesting in Karur against the removal of Gandhiji's statue.
The arrival of the CM triggered this shameful police action, highlighting the AIDMKs undemocratic ways,' Kanimozhi said in a tweet.
Taking strong exception to the arrest, Alagiri claimed his party MP was peacefully protesting the removal of Gandhi statue from Karur Lighthouse Roundtana, where the bust of the Father of the Nation was installed 60 years ago.
He said in a statement here, Jothimani, accompanied by party workers, were protesting against the substandard work in erecting the new statue.
'The police handling, especially in bodily removing the elected representative who was protesting in a democratic way, and subsequently arresting her was repressive and inhuman, Alagiri said in the statement.
In Karur, before her arrest, Jothimani claimed that the old statue was installed nearly 70 years ago to mark the death of Mahatma Gandhi.
This was removed without assigning any valid reason on Friday, she said.
'Where is the protection for women in (chief minister K) Palaniswami's rule that treats a woman Member of Parliament with such disrespect?' Jothimani asked and alleged that the construction work at the new statue was substandard and the structure crumbled by mere touch.
'If this substandard construction collapses, people's lives will be in danger,' she tweeted.
AICC incharge for Telangana Manickam Tagore too condemned the arrest and sought action against the officials concerned.
Mahatma's statute must be reinstated, he said in a tweet.
Tamil Nadu Pradesh Congress Sevadal condemned the 'atrocious behaviour' of the state government and the police for suppressing dissent.' PTI JSP ROH ROH