Seven rounds fired in air; Section 144 of CrPC imposed

Following the communal clashes between Vanniyars and Dalits at Pandachozhanallur village in the Netapakkam Commune, district collector S.B. Deepak Kumar has promulgated Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the entire Netapakkam police station limit prohibiting unlawful assembly in the area.

The ban also prohibits hoisting flags, erecting banners and posters in the area until further notice.

“All the banners, posters, flags and other prominent displays of party symbols and paraphernalia have been also removed,” Mr. Kumar told TheHindu.

“Following the prohibitory orders , a company of paramilitary force supported by the local police has been deployed in the area and security will be maintained around the clock,” Deputy Inspector General I.D. Shukla said.

The clash started on Tuesday morning following the tearing of a Vanniar Sangam poster in the village. Subsequently a group of Vanniars entered the Dalit-dominated Pandachozhanallur village and a clash broke out. A Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi (VCK) poster and posters of other political parties were torn down.

The local police then intervened and seven rounds were fired in the air. Despite the firing, the clashes did not die down and a larger force was called in.

According to one of the locals, Selvi, the posters was put up a week ago along with flags of the Vanniar Sangam.

Until Tuesday morning, all these were intact. Most of the people who started the clash were all from neighbouring villages, and very few of the local youths were involved.

The Vanniar group then attempted to enter the Dalit Colony when the police arrived and attempted to disperse the crowd, villagers said.

Buses were not allowed to operate in the area and shops were closed once the clashes started.

Most of the bystanders, however, were not very clear on what was going on. One of the elders in the village, Marimuthu said that there had never been a clash of this nature in the village and it was not a positive sign.

According to the collector, caste clashes were more frequent and the government was working out a plan to prevent them.