Sporadic incidents of targeted violence on business establishments run by Keralites over the Mullaperiyar issue were reported in parts of the State on Wednesday even as police scaled up security across key business locations to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa convened a Cabinet meeting to discuss the developments and review security measures following reports of violence from both sides of the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border.
Director-General of Police K. Ramanujam has warned of stringent action against those indulging in violence on establishments owned by Keralites in the State.
Claiming that police had arrested those who attacked some shops in Chennai, Coimbatore and Thanjavur, he said a special control room was set up at Cumbum to coordinate with the Kerala police. “We want to appeal to the people in Cumbum, Goodalur and the adjoining areas not to believe in rumours. In case of any information, they can get in touch with the special control room and get things clarified.”
Mr. Ramanujam said adequate manpower had been deployed in Gudalur as a precautionary measure. Besides six companies of the Tamil Nadu Special Police and 500 local police personnel, the Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Rajesh Das, one DIG and four Superintendents of Police were camping there, he said.
The DGP's statement follows attacks on business establishments run by Keralites reported from Chennai, Coimbatore, Thanjavur, Tirupur and Namakkal. In some places, jewellery shops shut down as a precautionary measure.
In most places, the protests were led by Thamizh Desa Poduvudamai Katchi, Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam and Tamil Nadu Manavar Kazhagam. In Chennai, six persons were arrested and remanded in judicial custody in separate incidents of attacking a jewellery plaza, a sweet shop and a hotel.
Tension prevailed on Cross Cut Road in Coimbatore City when a group of activists from Tamil outfits Naam Thamizhar Iyakkam and Tamil Nadu Manavar Kazhagam demonstrating in front of some business establishments run by Keralites tried to surge past the police cordon. The police arrested 33 persons in connection with the attack on a bakery in the area.
In Tirupur and Namakkal, heavy police presence thwarted attempts to vandalise business establishments run by Keralites. A group of locals forced a bakery owned by Keralites on the Kumarapalayam to Edapadi Road to down shutters over the reported attack in Kerala on Sabarimala pilgrims from Tamil Nadu. In Tirupur, a few tea stalls and eateries were forced to close. The police took six persons into preventive custody after they staged demonstration against the Kerala Government at Dharapuram.
The Confederation of Tamil Nadu Malayalee Organisations (CTMA) petitioned the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala seeking measures to protect the migrant population in their respective States. The CTMA urged Malayalees in Tamil Nadu not to get provoked by statements and continue to maintain the traditionally harmonious relationship with Tamil brethren.