The victims were on their way to Pasumpon to pay homage to their leader

Even as hundreds of people paid homage to U. Muthuramalinga Thevar on the occasion of his 105th jayanthi and 50th guru puja in his native Pasumpon village on Tuesday, three men were murdered in a couple of violent incidents elsewhere in the district, triggering considerable tension in the region.

Three people who were on their way to Pasumpon to pay homage to the leader were killed in a gruesome manner, when violent mobs attacked them with stones and logs in two different incidents near Paramakudi.

However, the murders that took place in the afternoon had no repercussions on the celebrations at Pasumpon and other parts of Ramanathapuram district, which passed off peacefully.

District Collector K. Nanthakumar, citing preliminary reports, said both the incidents took place on prohibited routes.

In the first incident, a van carrying 13 people strayed into a village of another community, breaking away from the convoy and ignoring warnings by a Village Administrative Officer (VAO). While it was stopped by the VAO before entering the village, the driver went to another village, saying they had to pick up someone from there.

When they entered the second village, also a prohibited one in view of its caste sensitivity, the villagers blocked the vehicle and asked the driver to return.

Ignoring the warning, the driver drove the vehicle to a third village, where it was stoned by a violent group.

While 13 of the occupants, who were coming from Virudhunagar and proceeding towards Pasumpon, jumped out and ran to safety, the mob caught hold of the driver and killed him, hitting him with stones and logs.

He was identified as M Sivakumar (25) of Velangudi, near Narikudi in Virudhunagar. Those who ran to safety were escorted by the picketing police.

In the second incident, two youths, hailing from Allinagaram and Keezhirangi near Tiruppuvanam, were proceeding towards Paramakudi from Mudhukalathur, when they strayed into the “sensitive” Ponnayapuaram village, near Paramakudi again, located on a prohibited route. A mob waylaid and killed them by hitting them with stones and logs. They were identified as V. Veeramani and M. Malaikannan.

Ponnayapuram is hardly a km away from the five point junction in Paramakudi, where six people were killed in police firing last year during the Immanuel Sekaran guru puja.