Over 120 families, ostracised from the fishing settlement of Tiruvanmiyur Kuppam, continue to stay on the Eliotts Beach, braving rain and the heat for three days.
Residents said that Wednesday’s incidents, during the course of which they were chased away from their homes, were the fallout of disputes between two groups of fisherfolk.
On Saturday, women were seen cooking on the beach sands near Urur Kuppam. A number of tired children were on the pavement, staring listlessly at beachgoers. “We were chased away from our homes by a group of fishermen. They attacked us, damaged houses and injured many of us. Over 26 houses were set on fire. We have been unable to carry out fishing. Some of us lost property and all of us are losing our livelihood now,” said S. Arumugam, one of the affected residents. “Officials have not yet spoken to us. There is no one to care for us,” said he added.
“The police have not taken steps to protect us. Some weeks ago, I was not even permitted to fetch drinking water for my disabled daughter by some of the residents. This week, they chased us away. I want peace in our neighbourhood,” said R. Indira, another resident of Tiruvanmiyur Kupam who was among those on Eliotts Beach on Saturday. D. Kattavi, the mother of one of the injured persons in the clash this week, said she wanted peaceful co-existence of all residents in the fishing settlement. “We want to live in peace in our own home. Why are the officials not trying to talk to us and find out the truth?” she added.
“Some of the attackers even stole 25 goats from our house. We are scared to go in search of the animals,” said Kamaladevi, another resident.
A senior police official said efforts are under way to restore order to the neighbourhood.