At least 700 people were arrested across the State on Wednesday for staging protests to condemn the arrest of Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader S. Ramadoss. Four buses were allegedly torched in Krishnagiri, Vellore and Kancheepuram districts in the last 48 hours. Angry protesters threw stones damaging window panes of more than 100 buses in the northern districts, police sources here said.
In Villupuram and Kancheepuram districts, agitators felled trees and placed them across roads to disrupt vehicular traffic. Night patrolling has been intensified along highways and district borders as a precautionary measure. Bus services to remote locations in these districts were pruned, the sources added.
Dr. Ramadoss was brought to the Tiruchi Central Prison around 4 a.m. on Wednesday. Over 360 partymen who were arrested in Villupuram on Tuesday along with Dr. Ramadoss, PMK president G. K. Mani, A. Ganesh Kumar, MLA, and K. Dhanraj, former MP, have also been lodged in the central prison there.
Special Correspondent from Cuddalore writes:
Villupuram and Cuddalore districts witnessed sporadic incidents of violence at several places.
However, the situation in the Dalit colonies at Kattayan Theru and Kazhikuppam, which bore the brunt of violence on April 25, in the Marakkanam region off the East Coast Road remained normal. A huge posse of police personnel was posted in these places and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code were clamped there.
Inspector General of Police (North Zone) P. Kannappan told The Hindu that the security had been tightened in these districts and patrolling intensified. Special police force, Tamil Nadu Police Services battalions besides the local police had been deployed in the sensitive and trouble-prone areas. Extra police officers had been drafted for security duty from other districts to maintain law and order. Mr. Kannappan asserted that total normality returned to these districts. Stray incidents of stone pelting and targeting of the government buses were reported on the night following the arrest of the PMK leaders, he said.
Dr. Ramadoss was arrested along with party president G.K.Mani and others at the Villupuram junction when they defied the police orders.
In Villupuram district, at least 32 STC buses and in Cuddalore district 15 STC buses became the target of attack. A road blockade caused by an axed tree at Kolathur located on the Tindivanam-Marakkanam road was cleared by the police.
In Cuddalore district, over 300 persons were taken into preventive custody on Wednesday. The police are keeping vigil on the major thoroughfares and at bus stands.
Staff Reporter from Kancheepuram writes:
Six residents of Thamal village were arrested on Wednesday on charges of setting fire to a Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation bus on Tuesday night on the Chennai-Bangalore National Highway near their hamlet.