A statue of reformist leader E V Ramasamy Periyar here was found smeared with saffron dye on Sunday by unidentified miscreants, drawing strong responses from political leaders in Tamil Nadu.
A slipper was also found near the statue at Samathuvapuram colony in Inamkulathur here early this morning, police said, adding that a case has been registered for defacing and vandalising the statue.
Political leaders, including DMK chief M K Stalin slammed the incident, the second such one in the state in recent months, after a statue of the rational leader was found daubed in saffron in Coimbatore.
Locals blocked traffic for some time on the Dindigul highway, protesting against the vandalism and dispersed after police them that action would be taken.
Stalin slammed the defacing of the statue of the Dravidian stalwart and said people will "boycott" such persons.
Periyar was not the leader of just a movement---Dravidar Kazhagam -- but that of Tamils, he said.
"When are they going to realise that people will further boycott them if they repeatedly do the same mistake," he said in a Facebook post without naming anyone.
"Periyar is not the leader of just a movement. He is the leader of the Tamil race. Those who do such things thinking they are insulting him are insulting themselves," he said and strongly condemned the incident.
PMK leader S Ramadoss hit out at the defacing of the statue and demanded "strong action" against those involved.
MDMK founder and Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko, AMMK leader and independent MLA T T V Dhinakaran also criticised the latest episode of targeting Periyar's statue and demanded that such elements be dealt with strictly.