Chennai/Kannur: The desecration of statues of leaders continued on Thursday with busts of Mahatma Gandhi and BR Ambedkar being found defaced in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, respectively.
A 42-year-old man, Dinesan, was arrested in connection with the defacing of Mahatma Gandhi statue in Kannur district of Kerala, police said.
Police said he was mentally unsound and later released on bail.
Gandhi's bust near the Thaliparamba taluk office was found defaced in the morning with its spectacle carving damaged and a garland on it seen lying nearby.
Meanwhile, at a residential locality in Chennai, a bust of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar was found with paint smeared on its face and head.
The bust is placed inside a structure covered with a grill in a residential neighbourhood in Tiruvotriyur in North
Police assured the agitated local people that action would be taken against the culprits.
"Based on a complaint from the local people, we have registered an FIR and two special teams have been formed to trace the culprits," Deputy Police Commissioner G Shashank Sai said.
More police pickets have been posted in the area for maintenance of law and order, he said. A series of incidents of desecration of statues of various leaders, including Ambedkar, rationalist EV Ramasamy "Periyar" and Jana Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee, have been reported from different parts of the country over the past few days.
The incidents began after a statue of Communist icon Vladimir Lenin was pulled down in Tripura after the BJP's victory in the assembly elections, ending 25 years of Communist rule.
The incidents in Tamil Nadu were triggered after BJP leader H Raja had in a Facebook comment indicated that Periyar's statue would meet the fate as that of Lenin's statue.
However, facing flak from political parties in the state, he later deleted the post and blamed his social media administrator for the lapse.
He also expressed regret for the comment.
A statue of Lord Hanuman was also desecrated in Uttar Pradesh's Kharuav village, triggering tension in the area, police said on Thursday.
The incident comes amid an ongoing spate of incidents targeting statues and busts of known figures across the country. Station House Officer, Nagra, Ram Dinesh Tiwari, said the statue was damaged yesterday and a poster was also found pasted on it.
The police have lodged a case against unidentified persons on a complaint by Kharuav village chief Dushyant Singh, he said.
The officer said that the matter is being investigated. No arrests have been made, Tiwari, said. The vandalisation of the Hanuman statue comes after a series of incidents targeting statues and busts across the country.
Meanwhile, superstar Rajinikanth on Thursday described as 'barbaric' Raja's comment but said the issue need not be 'magnified' further as the BJP leader expressed regret.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Wednesday strongly condemned the vandalism and warned of stern action against the guilty.