A Vinayagar Visarjana procession organised in this hill station on Monday was marked by tension. Police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse crowds at a couple of places including the municipal market, the clock tower junction and the ATC bus stand. A bandh like atmosphere prevailed in the town.
The procession with about 45 idols which was organized by various Hindu outfits commenced on the Coonoor road near Charing Cross. It was inaugurated by the State Joint General Secretary, VHP B.K.Kumaran.
With a number of shops closed and tight security provided by hundreds of police personnel led by the Superintendent of Police Kapil Kumar C.Saratkar and other senior officers, the procession was peaceful till it reached the clock tower. However all hell broke loose there. When it took the turn to the ATC bus stand some miscreants from inside the market had thrown stones and other items. With the processionists retaliating by throwing whatever they could lay their hands on utter chaos prevailed. The police caned those inside and outside the market.
When the 44 vehicles carrying the idols reached the ATC bus stop, some of the processionists lowered the idols and staged a road blockade demonstration demanding action against those who had triggered the clash. Those injured in the stone throwing were removed to the hospital. Attributing the incident to failure of police intelligence they demanded that the district collector should come to the spot and give an assurance that appropriate action would be taken.
However following an assurance given by Mr.Saratkar that appropriate action would be taken they had dispersed.
Owing to the tension many persons including students and those heading for various villages were subjected to considerable inconvenience.
Meanwhile Mr.Kumaran said that in protest against the incident a bandh would be observed here on Tuesday.