Police used mild force to disperse two groups, which indulged in stone throwing and exchanged blows over a temple festival at Kannankurichi here on Tuesday night.

Police said tension was simmering between the groups over the conduct of the Vaikasi festival of the Sri Periya Mariamman temple administered by the HR and CE Department.

Opposing the festival, one group picked a wordy quarrel, which led to commotion and stone throwing. Police intervened and tried to pacify the groups. When it ended in vain, they resorted to lathi charge and dispersed the crowd.

A few persons, including a police constable, suffered minor injuries and have been admitted to hospital.

HR and CE officials brought the temple under lock and key and postponed the festival. Police are on guard near the temple to prevent any further incident.