Cases against over 1,500 persons for torching buses, police vehicles

The entire stretch of the East Coast Road has been brought under police surveillance following the violent incidents that took place between supporters of the Pattali Makkal Katchi, who were on their way to attend the annual Chitra Pournami youth congregation at Mamallapuram, and sections of Dalits on Thursday.

Inspector-General of Police (North Zone) P. Kannappan told The Hindu that normality was restored on the ECR and vehicle movement that remained suspended throughout Thursday night resumed on Friday.

He further said police patrolling on the ECR was intensified and appropriate security was provided for the Marakkanam South Colony that bore the brunt of the violence unleashed by a mob on Thursday.

He said a couple of deaths occurred in road accidents before and after the Mamallapuram meeting. For instance, when the rear door of the lorry in which the partymen were travelling opened unexpectedly at least four of them fell down and sustained injuries and one of them later succumbed.

Mr. Kannappan said investigation was on to identify those who perpetrated violence. The two persons who were said to have been died in road accidents were identified as Vivek (19) of Thanjavur and Selvaraj (27) of Ariyalur.

The police have booked cases of rioting, among other charges, under IPC, besides Section 3 of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against 1,512 unidentified persons for torching the buses, police vehicles, ransacking the toll plaza at Anumanthai, and setting fire to tenements.

According to a statement from the Collectorate, about six houses, one cowshed and a haystack were torched by the unruly crowd.

Four buses of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and one bus of the Puducherry State Road Transport Corporation and a car were set ablaze.

Three persons – Gnanavel (28) of Kolyanur, Srinivasan (29) of Thirukkoilur and Veeramani (25) of Neyveli – are undergoing treatment at JIPMER Hospital, Puducherry, for injuries suspected to be caused by bullets. Police earlier said they had fired in the air to disperse the clashing groups but had not spoken of anyone being injured during the firing.

District Collector V.Sampath, accompanied by Superintendent of Police S. Manoharan and District Revenue Officer R.Brindadevi, visited the troubled spot on Friday morning. The Collector got two injured persons he came across admitted to hospital. Most of the injured were treated as outpatients in the Marakkanam Primary Health Centre. The Collector told this correspondent that revenue officials were collecting details of the number of injured persons.

The violence-hit colony is located about 100 metres off the ECR and the rioters had run through the vegetation to reach the place and let loose violence. The locality is almost bereft of male members as they are either undergoing treatment elsewhere or have gone to safer places.

Women residents told the Collector that the attack on their colony had become a recurring phenomenon. They pleaded to him for measures to insulate them from such unprovoked mob fury.

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