Two persons were killed and six injured in a group clash on Sunday night over a dispute about right to perform pujas at Sri Nanjundeswarar Temple at Nanjanad, a Badaga village near here.

The standoff over the right to perform pujas has been there since 1987.

The deaths led to the torching of some houses in retaliation. Twenty-one persons were arrested in connection with the attack. Prohibitory orders are in force in the village.

In May 1988, the Revenue Divisional Officer of Coonoor had put in place an arrangement by which both the groups could perform pujas at different times in the morning and evening. The smaller group then moved the High Court, for a solution. The court had ruled that the arrangement of the revenue authorities should be followed till the two groups solved the problem.

Police sources told The Hindu that when a meeting of the group that moved the court was in progress in a building around midnight, Anand (33) and Ravichandran (45) of the group that opposed the court order had gone there. After an exchange of words, the two were allegedly hit on the head with brass lamps. They died on way to hospital. Those who rushed to the spot on hearing the commotion were also assaulted. As word spread, many houses belonging to the smaller group were damaged and a few of them were set ablaze.

  • Standoff over right to perform temple puja

  • 6 injured, houses torched