Congress workers and pro-Sri Lankan Tamil groups on Wednesday clashed outside the Sathyamurthy Bhavan, the headquarters of the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC). Five persons, including a policeman, were injured.

According to police, the trouble began when Tamil nationalist groups, particularly members of the Naam Tamilar Katchi, observing Day of Justice for Eelam Tamils, tried to besiege the Congress office.

They raised slogans condemning the alleged pro-Sri Lankan stand of the Congress and the decision of the Centre to contest in the court the move by Tamil Government to release seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Police intercepted them on Anna Salai and took them into custody before they could reach the office.

In the meantime, members of another little-known pro-Tamil group assembled outside the TNCC headquarters and started throwing stones on the building. They also tried to burn party president Sonia Gandhi’s effigy.

Congress workers inside the building retaliated by hurling bricks at the protesters. The police then resorted to lathicharge to disperse the crowd. The five injured were taken to the government hospital in Royapettah. The confrontation threw traffic out of gear on the arterial Anna Salai and Thiru Vi Ka Salai. Following this, Congressmen came out of the building and joined those squatting on the Thiru Vi Ka Salai (GP Road), demanding action against the pro-Tamil groups. This resulted in heavy traffic congestion in the area for over three hours.

The police barricaded the stretch on Anna Salai leading to Thiru Vi Ka Salai and diverted traffic. Union Minister G.K. Vasan and TNCC president B.S. Gnanadesikan condemned the attack on the Congress office.

“The Tamil Nadu government should deal with such uncivilised acts with an iron hand. Tamil people would not support such acts,” Mr. Vasan said.