One of the members was killed when a farmer opened fire at a three-member gang that attempted to fell a sandalwood tree on his farm in the early hours of Sunday. The deceased was identified as Duraisamy (29), a resident of Karumanthurai near Attur in Salem district.
According to Superintendent of Police T. Jayachandran, the gang entered the farm of Ramasamy (60), an office-bearer of the Tamil Nadu Milk Producers' Welfare Association, and tried to fell one of the two sandalwood trees. When the gang began chopping the branches of the tree, an alarm hooked to the fence went off. Ramasamy rushed to the terrace of his house and found the gang on his field. He tried to scare them away with his double-barrel gun.
When the gang continued to chop the branches, the farmer fired a round at it. Duraisamy sustained serious injuries while the other two fled the spot. He was admitted to the Erode Government Hospital, where he died.
Police said the weapon used by Mr. Ramasamy was licensed.
He was arrested and cases were registered against him under Sections 307, 147, 148, 324 of Indian Penal Code and Section 27 of the Arms Act.