Country bombs were hurled at Kooththenkuzhi
Two persons were injured when country bombs were hurled in a group clash at Kooththenkuzhi, near Koodankulam, in Tirunelveli district on Tuesday morning.
The police, who entered the village after the clash, have arrested two persons and seized 82 bombs from the coastal hamlet that has been riven with strife over the past three years owing to the group rivalry.
Police sources said a group, led by Gandhi, at Kooththenkuzhi drove away the rival group backing anti-Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project agitations to Idinthakarai a few months ago. His faction split in two recently. While Siluvai Kiththaerian leads one group, Sudhakar heads the other. The rivalry worsened during a family function organised by Sudhakar on June 26.
Both groups started hurling country bombs around 6 a.m. on Tuesday. The violence went on for nearly two hours, injuring Madhan, 23, supporter of Sudhakar, and Regan, 25, who backs Kiththaerian. They were shifted to hospital. A police team, led by Superintendent of Police K.S. Narenthiran Nair, entered the village around 10.30 a.m. to restore normality. Once the SP entered, DSP (Valliyoor) P. Balaji asked Gandhi to tell him about those who were behind the clash and the places where the explosives had been buried.
As Gandhi did not know the spots, he contacted a few persons on the phone and told Mr. Balaji that the bombs had been buried in a farm near Fatima Nagar and a few other places. Immediately, the suspected spots were excavated, and nine buckets — eight full of bombs and one empty — were recovered.
The police picked up Irudhayam and Francis alias Mookkan for stockpiling explosives to settle scores with rivals. They are being interrogated by Mr. Nair to extract more information about the explosives, if any, buried at and around the Kooththenkuzhi.
Though the police had entered this village on a few occasions ever since the Idinthakarai-based anti-nuclear project agitations got intensified, they never conducted a comprehensive search to seize the bombs buried in secluded places.
While the ‘driven-out group’ fabricated the bombs at Tsunami Colony at Idinthakarai to target the Gandhi-led group, it went off accidentally on November 26 last, killing eight persons.
Additional police personnel have been deployed at Kooththenkuzhi.