Tension broke out in Nelliampathy on Sunday, the eve of the visit of a six-member team of MLAs from the United Democratic Front, as some estate owners allegedly threatened to stop the legislators from entering the hills to study the problems connected with the takeover of forestland whose lease agreements have expired or have been violated.
C.K. Sankaranarayanan, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Alathur, said the police got information from the Divisional Forest Officer that attempts were being made to prevent them from visiting the Cherunelli estate.
The team comprises V.D. Satheesan, T.N. Prathapan, Hibi Eden and V.T. Balram of the Congress; M.V. Sreyamskumar of the Socialist Janata (Democratic) and M.V. Shaji of the Muslim League.
The team called on Sugathakumari, poet, at an Ayurveda centre in Mezhathur, near Thrithala. Mr. Satheesan told The Hindu over the phone from there that Ms. Sugathakumari pledged her support for the protection of Nelliampathy.
Mr. Satheesan said the MLAs had called on M.P. Veerendrakumar, president of the Socialist Janata (Democratic), who has also been undergoing treatment at the centre.
He supported the cause taken up by the MLAs.