A total of 520 protestors, who tried to take out a rally at Pettai near here to ‘retrieve' the ‘illegally occupied' properties of a mosque were arrested on Sunday.

Alleging that the properties belonging to Nawab Walajah Mosque at Pettai near Tirunelveli Town, worth about a few crores of rupees, had been encroached upon by some individuals, the administration of the mosque and Manithaneya Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (MMMK) had filed petitions at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court against the illegal occupation and the case is pending before the court.

Even as talks between the ‘tenants' and the mosque administration were going on through the revenue officials to sort out the problems, the MMMK had announced that ‘kar seva' would be conducted on May 9 to retrieve the illegally encroached upon properties of the mosque.

However, the police, which made it clear that no ‘kar seva' to evict the ‘tenants' by forcible means would be allowed, also announced that proper protection would be provided to the ‘tenants' as per the directive of the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court.

Against this backdrop, the protestors who gathered at Rahmaniapettai and Kulaththankarai mosque on Sunday morning tried to take out rallies towards the Nawab Walajah Mosque, but were prevented by the police personnel deployed in large numbers.

Some of the protestors threw three effigies, citing them as illegal occupants on the road and thrashed the dummies with footwear and broomsticks. At one stage, Varun, a water cannon vehicle, was pressed into service to disperse the surging protestors who were later arrested and taken to a marriage hall and a school.

The protestors were released in the evening.

Keywords: Violent protest

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