Traffic was disrupted on Kamarajar Salai on Wednesday after residents of Ayodhyakuppam staged a protest demanding the arrest of an armed gang that had threatened to kill a resident.

A large number of police personnel rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control within an hour.

“The residents demanded arrest of a gang that publicly announced it will chop off the head of a resident of our neighbourhood. They came on more than 25 motorcycles, three persons possessing weapons in each of the vehicles,” said P. Aadhilakshmi, a resident of Ayodhyakuppam.

“Around 4,000 people blocked the road at 6.30 p.m. The police arrived and they assured of action against the gang and asked us to discontinue the protest,” said Kuppulakshmi, another resident.

The gang, with a majority comprising residents from other areas, allegedly tore off a notice issued by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) demanding vacation of the houses to facilitate reconstruction. As many as 750 houses are in a dilapidated condition.

“Officials organised a meeting this week and asked us to vacate houses in 45 days. We accepted the decision of the officials to give one reconstructed house for each of the original beneficiaries. But this group of people from other neighbourhoods demand additional houses for people from other areas. This is a source of confrontation now,” said P. Valli, another resident.

The TNSCB has planned to demolish the dilapidated tenements and commence reconstruction in September.

Last month a person was injured after a portion of the dilapidated tenements came crashing down.

The State government has announced reconstruction of the dilapidated tenements at an estimated cost of Rs. 8 lakh each.

Each of the new houses, measuring around 400 sq. ft, will be larger than the existing structures.

The residents also pointed to efforts by Kalaivanan, a resident of Triplicane, to control a fishermen’s cooperative society in Ayodhyakuppam as yet another cause of the simmering discontent among residents.

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