Three persons, including a policeman, were injured when stones were thrown

A policeman was grievously injured when stones were pelted on security personnel who accompanied a funeral procession of two victims of October-30 petrol bomb attack near here on Tuesday.

At least two others were injured when police used force to chase away a section of people in the procession who turned violent as the bodies of M. Desinguraj (19) and R. Ranjith Kumar (20) entered Puliyankulam on the Madurai-Tiruppuvanam highway. The windshield of the vehicle of Tirumangalam Deputy Superintendent of Police K.S. Ravichandran was smashed in the sudden attack at around 2.30 p.m.

Madurai Superintendent of Police V. Balakrishnan said that the trouble started when a section of youth riding on motorcycles broke the police cordon at Melamadai junction on Sivaganga Road in the city and tried to take the funeral procession through a caste-sensitive locality. When the police went ahead with the permitted route, some of the youths tried to block the ambulances carrying the bodies by lying down on the road in front of the vehicles. As the crowd became restive, the police chased it away, he said.

Later, the police had to disband trouble mongers at the Ring-Road-Ramanathapuram Road junction before reaching Puliyankulam.

Irked by the police using force, a section of the youth, waiting at Puliyankulam, started shouting at the police. They wanted the security personnel to retreat. Even as the leaders of All India Forward Bloc, P.V. Kathiravan, and of various Thevar organisations such as G.M. Sridhar Vandaiyar and P.T. Arasakumar tried to pacify them some started pelting stones and bricks on the police personnel.

An Armed Reserve police constable, Dinakaran, of Dindigul district, sustained a deep cut injury on his forehead. The police again chased the mob in which two persons were injured.

Meanwhile, one more victim of petrol bomb attack, S. Vishnupriyan (20), died at a private hospital. After a discussion between the police and village leaders, including vice-president of Puliyankulam A. Abdul Pari, the body of Vishnupriyan was taken to Puliyankulam. With this, the death toll in the petrol bomb attack on the car on the Ring Road at Chinthamani near here has risen to six.

Twenty persons returning to Puliyankulam after paying homage to Muthuramalinga Thevar on the occasion of his guru puja at Pasumpon in Ramanathapuram district had sustained serious burn injuries.

Earlier, the city police had to regulate vehicular traffic to enable the procession from the Government Rajaji Hospital to Puliyankulam. Several shops on the procession route remained closed.

Besides Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mathur and DIG (Madurai Range) Bala Naga Devi, Superintendents of Police Asra Garg (Dharmapuri) and T. Jeyachandran (Dindigul) were present.

The village continues to be tense in the wake of a bandh call given by Thevar Samuthaya Kootamaippu on Wednesday condemning the attack. Meanwhile, a statement from Chennai said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has announced Rs. 5-lakh solatium each for the families of Desinguraj and Ranjith Kumar.