Police intervened to save Mr. Vijaykar from the public who dragged him out of his car

A pistol-toting, invective-spewing businessman was the main character in a high drama that played out on Ponnamallee High Road on Wednesday.

Armed with a licensed .25 mm German pistol and an airgun, the man, suspected to be mentally ill, locked himself inside his first-floor apartment, behind Taylor’s Road bus stop on P.H. Road.

Often, he would walk up to a window and direct bitter diatribes at the policemen, mediapersons and a large crowd gathered around the three-storey apartment complex.

It all began around 10 a.m. on Wednesday when Vijayakar (46), a native of Madurai, entered into an argument with the secretary of his apartment complex, George Abraham, over a court order, according to which the former had to vacate his apartment by May 25.

“He threatened the secretary and assaulted him and a carpenter in an office room on the second floor of the apartment. He later fired a warning shot at the roof from his pistol and brandished the weapon as he rushed to his first floor apartment and locked himself inside,” said Fakhruddin, security guard of apartment complex where the drama unfolded.

On being alerted by residents, a posse of policemen reached the spot. They found an armed Vijayakar with a woman. She was first believed to be a hostage but later turned out to be his friend.

All through the day, Vijayakar threatened to pull the trigger on the onlookers and, in his relatively sober moments, spouted messages on a range of issues, including nature conservation, terrorism and IPL betting. In a friendly overture, he threw down chocolates and biscuits at the waiting crowd.

The police got his relatives and a friend to talk him into stepping out of the house. When they tried to do so, Vijayakar waved the pistol at them, forcing them to retreat.

The stand-off ended nearly 11 hours later when around 9 p.m., Vijayakar put on an overcoat and stepped out with his friend. When they tried to flee in his car that was parked inside the apartment complex, angry and impatient onlookers pounced on him and gave him a sound thrashing. The woman too was attacked. Vijayakar’s car was also damaged.

The police resorted to mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd. In the melee that followed, a few lensmen, including R. Ravindran of The Hindu, were injured.

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