Three persons were seriously injured when police opened fire in a village in Kallupatti Taluk, about 40 km from Madurai following clashes between two communities, authorities said today.

Police said the clash in Villoor village, in which 100 people were arrested yesterday, ensued after people belonging to the dominant community had seized the two-wheeler of Thanga Pandian, a Dalit resident of the village who had rode through the street where members of the dominant community resided.

The members of the dominant community had banned the Dalits, living in the neighbouring street, from riding on two wheelers or wearing slippers while walking in their street, police said.

Five persons of the dominant community were arrested in connection with the seizure of Mr. Thanga Pandian’s vehicle.

However, even as the Madurai SP Asra Garg was holding peace talks at the police station with the local people belonging to both the communities, people belonging to dominant community pelted stones, demanding the release of the five arrested persons, injuring some policemen, officials said.

The cars of the SP and DSPs were also damaged in the stone pelting, they said.

When the two groups clashed again, the situation “went out of control” and the efforts of the police to quell the violence by lathi charge and deploying tear gas shells were in vain, they said.

The police subsequently opened fire, in which three were seriously injured and 15 others suffered minor injuries, they said. Hundred persons were also arrested, they said.

SP Asra Garg today warned that severe action would be taken against those committing atrocities against Dalits.

The situation is under control at Villoor village after police has been deployed, officials said.