A gang of sand smugglers made an attempt to kill a revenue inspector and three village assistants by running them over with a tractor near Shoolagiri in Krishnagiri district in the early hours of Wednesday.

The police have registered a case of attempt to murder against eight persons, including a functionary of the Pattali Makkal Katchi. Three persons have been arrested, while the others, including the PMK functionary, fled the spot.

In a complaint lodged with the Shoolagiri Police, the revenue inspector, P. Ramamurthy, said that the gang tried to run them over with the tractor when they tried to prevent illegal mining of sand from Kuralthotti Lake in Sembarasalli panchayat.

On a tip-off, the officials rushed to the spot on three motorcycles. As they neared the lake, the gang escaped with sand in two tractors.

They spotted one of the tractors on an agriculture field and immediately informed the Shoolagiri police station. Mr. Ramamurthy alleged that before the arrival of the police, the gang led by the PMK functionary rushed towards him and used abusive language. One of the gang members punched the RI in the face. Immediately, the sand was unloaded and the tractor driven towards the officials. He and the others managed to escape from coming under the tractor, Mr. Ramamurthy said. The arrested were remanded in judicial custody. Later, over 200 members of the Tamil Nadu Revenue Officials Association staged a demonstration near the Collectorate demanding that the administration invoke Goondas Act against the attackers.

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