Windowpanes of three buses broken; over 1,000 police personnel deployed; Section 144 promulgated

Tension prevailed at Kovilpatti on Sunday following a clash between two groups of people in the wake of arrest of 11 persons for allegedly desecrating Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar statue at Sankaralingapuram.

Demanding the release of those arrested and seeking protection, a group of people resorted to a road blockade near Ambedkar statue on Ettayapuram Road.

When police resorted to a mild lathi charge to disperse them, they pelted stones on buses passing through that area.

Windowpanes of three State buses had been broken, said S. Murugan, General Manager, TNSTC, Tirunelveli Region.

Drivers were directed to skip the Ettayapuram Road and take Kayathar route. The mob also broke window panes of a car and a lorry, glass doors of a nationalised bank and its ATM centre near Kovilpatti bus stand, Velayuthapuram, Ilayarasanendhal, Pasuvanthanai Road and Sattur Road.

Kovlpatti West police arrested M. Sudalaimani (24) and Arumugapandi (26). Shops remained closed at some places.

As tension mounted, heavy deployment of anti-riot police was in place in various parts of Kovilpatti.

Over 1,000 police personnel had been deployed, said Superintendent of Police J. Rajendran, who has camped at Sankaralingapuram.

Revenue Divisional Officer of Kovilpatti T. Kathiresan said that Section 144 had been promulgated at Sankaralingapuram, Velayuthapuram, Kovilpatti - Sattur road and the five entry points leading to Kovilpatti to prevent any unlawful assembly of people.

The order would remain effective for 24 hours from 6 p.m. of Sunday, Mr. Kathiresan said.

Inspector General of Police, South Zone, Abhay Kumar Singh, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli, Sumit Sharan, Superintendent of Police, Tirunelveli, Vijayendra Bidari, and other high-ranking police officials are camping in the area to prevent untoward incidents.

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