Even as Sankarankoil in the district is all set to go in for the by-poll within the next few weeks, a hamlet on the outskirts of the dusty Assembly segment headquarters witnessed bitter communal clash on Tuesday night in which a car was set ablaze and at least ten vehicles were damaged.

According to the police, a group of devotees from Kamaraj Nagar on Sankarankoil – Kazhugumalai Road were going in a procession to their temple as part of the festival.

When the procession crossed a mosque on the way, it is alleged that some unidentified persons threw footwear into the mosque shortly after 9 p.m. and fled before the Muslims offering prayers in their place of worship could come out.

When they came out, another group of devotees from Gandhi Nagar who were also taking out a rally in connection with the temple festival were crossing the mosque. As the Muslims suspected that some of the rallyists in the second procession were behind the throwing of footwear into the mosque, they picked up an argument with them.

As the matter flared up, the police deployed in front of the mosque tried to prevent it, but the small police force could not prevent the two sides started pelting stones on each other. The clash became intense when petrol bombs were liberally used by both sides.

Additional police forces were rushed to the spot and tear gas was used to disperse the mob. The police also had to cane the rioters.

However, the mob torched a car and damaged a more than ten vehicles parked on the roadside, and good number of houses were ransacked by the mob.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National