Country bombs were hurled at Dindigul union ward councillor P. Muthupandi near the Dindigul Press Club here on Wednesday. While the councillor survived the attack, eight others, including three media persons, were treated at the Government Hospital for injuries. One of the assailants, P. Natarajan, was caught and handed over to the police by locals.

The injured were indentified as S. Ranjith Kumar (20), K. Badsha (43), Arokia Raj (38), BSNL staff V. Gnanaprakasam (48), reporters R. Sankar, R. Shanmuga Raja and S. Udaya Sankar and wine shop staff R. Manigandan.

Police said that Muthupandi had appeared before the Judicial Magistrate Court in connection with a murder case and then proceeded to the Dindigul union office located behind the court complex to submit a petition.

As he approached the AMC road from the union office in his car, a three-member gang hurled two bombs. One landed on the windshield of the car and the other damaged one of its wheels. The councillor drove straight to Dindigul north police station. Two men followed the car on foot, with locals in hot pursuit. They disappeared in the vicinity of Periyar statue.

However, Natarajan, who hurled a bomb at the crowd and was confronted by Gnanaprakasam and Manigandan, was grabbed by the police. Shrapnel from the bomb injured Gnanaprakasam, Manigandan and three media men present on the scene.

Eye witnesses reported a deafening sound followed by dense white smoke in the highly crowded area. Eight school children had a narrow escape. As people ran helter-skelter, police rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control.

Superintendent of Police T. Jayachandran said the blast site has been cordoned off.

Personal enmity is said to be the motive for the attack. The accused have been identified and will be arrested soon, he added.

Police said Muthupandi was the prime accused in the murder of Periasamy, father of Natarajan. The councillor was also involved in the murder of Devendra Kula Vellalar Kootamaipu, founder Pasupathi Pandian, a mentor to Natarajan.

Muthupandi told The Hindu that three attempts had been made on his life so far. First, a gang attempted to murder him in Palani in November, and near the NVGB cinema in Dindigul in December. A third attempt followed at Chinnalapatti in February. This was the fourth attempt, he said.

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