Fisherman injured in grenade attackRAMANATHAPURAM: A fisherman of Rameswaram was injured in a grenade attack by the Sri Lankan fishermen for using banned nets.

Sources said the incident occurred when two groups of Rameswaram fishermen were fishing near Katchatheevu on Tuesday. Palani (35) received a minor injury. A trawler, which was used for fishing by the injured fisherman, capsized in the attack. However, all eight fishermen, who escaped from the attack, returned to the shore through another trawler. A complaint was lodged with the fisheries department. Staff Reporter

20 PDS salesmen suspendedDharmapuri: Twenty salesmen of fair price shops in Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts were suspended on charges of irregularities in billing and deficit stock of essential commodities.

According to the Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies, R. Loganathan, a team conducted surprise raids in 107 PDS outlets in Dharmapuri district. During the raid, billing irregularities and shortage of essential commodities worth Rs.67, 000 was found. In Krishnagiri district, irregularities to the tune of Rs.38,232 were found in 106 fair price shops. The Joint Registrar ordered officials concerned to collect the fine amount from the suspended salesmen. Staff Reporter

4 held in fake insurance claim caseMADURAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday arrested four persons, including two Public Works Department (PWD) officials and a former Inspector of Police, in connection with an alleged fake insurance claim case. According to CBI sources, the case pertains to a road accident on April 15, 2001, on the Madurai-Melur National Highway, in which K. Shankar, an engineering graduate, was killed. Though the vehicle hit a roadside tree, a complaint was preferred with the Kottampatti police that the car collided with another car resulting in the death of Shankar. An accident insurance claim to the tune of Rs. 60 lakh was filed in a Madurai court.

After investigation, in which it was detected that S. Kannan (father of Shankar), working as Junior Engineer in the Water Resources Organisation of the PWD at Ilayankudi, his associate, K. Raju, Works Inspector, "conspired" to give a false complaint.

All the four suspects were produced in a city court and remanded to judicial custody, CBI sources added. Staff Reporter

Financial aid given to kin of four journalistsCHENNAI: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Tuesday distributed financial assistance to family members of four journalists who died in harness. A sum of Rs. 50,000 each was given to the widows of M.S. Viswanathan, known as Saavi, and M. Subbukutti, who worked in Dinakaran, Tiruchi, while Rs. 2 lakh each was given to the widows of T. Desing of Vannathirai, Chennai, and M. Inbaraj of Malai Murasu, Madurai. The assistance was given from the Journalists' Family Benefit Fund instituted by the State Government. Special Correspondent

Jayalalithaa condemns defacing of statueCHENNAI: Former Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa has condemned the defacing of the statue of late M.G. Ramachandran at Velvattithurai in Jaffna in Sri Lanka. In a statement on Tuesday, Ms. Jayalalithaa said this indecent act had hurt the sentiments of Tamils around the world.

MDMK general secretary Vaiko said that such acts were condemnable and wanted the Sri Lankan Government to direct its Army to withdraw from Jaffna. Special Correspondent

Injured in elephant attackUdhagamandalam: Three adivasis, including a boy, were hospitalised at Coonoor after being attacked by an elephant. According to police, on Sunday when they were proceeding through a forest to Burliar from Sembukkarai a pachyderm had attacked them. - Special Correspondent

Communal harmony meetUdhagamandalam: Under the aegis of the Nilgiris District Religious Integration Peace Committee and the Abu Babaji Mission Trust 'communal harmony day' was held here recently. In his address the head of the Abu Babaji Mission Trust, Ramu Baba, said that a communal harmony conference would be organised by the trust here soon in association with various non-governmental organisations and the peace committee. The president of the peace committee, B. K. Krishnan, presided. The Manager, State Bank of India, G. Sreedhar, also spoke. - Special Correspondent

BoycottUdhagamandalam: A meeting of the Nilgiris Bar Association held here on Tuesday resolved to abstain from all courts and legal forums in the district on Tuesday and Wednesday to show their solidarity in condemning the recent attack on the Salem Law College students by police. The president of the Association, K. Chandramohan, presided.

- Special Correspondent

Directive on sale of crackersUdhagamandalam: The Nilgiris Collector, Santosh K Misra, has in a press note issued here on Saturday stated that those planning to open cracker sales outlets during the Diwali season should submit their applications with the necessary details before September 5. They should enclose a sketch of the area where the shop was proposed to be opened and also details about the land or building. Applications submitted after the last date would not be entertained.

- Special Correspondent.

DeadlineTirupur: The Taluk secretary of the CPI, M. Ravi, and councillor, M. Arunachalam, in a statement on Tuesday demanded that the deadline should be extended beyond September 30, in view of ongoing programme of regularisation of unapproved layouts. They said that a lot of house and factory owners have been unable to pay the deposit owing to the pending the assessment of their buildings. - Staff Reporter

50 refugees arriveRAMANATHAPURAM: More than 50 refugees reached Arichamunai in the district on Tuesday. Sources said they were from Trincomalee and Mannar district of Sri Lanka.

MurderedVIRUDHUNAGAR: In two separate incidents, a man and a woman were found murdered and another man committed suicide in the district on Tuesday.

P. Ramasamy (33) was found dead with severe head injuries at the residence of his cousin S. Muniyandi in Nellikulam. A family problem is suspected to the reason behind the murder.

In the second incident, a married woman, K. Muthumari (32), was hacked to death by her relative C. Sundaramoorthi at West Street in Irrukkangudi. Later, Sundaramoorthi committed suicide by consuming poison.

Children return to schoolVIRUDHUNAGAR: The children of Yerrampatti village who stayed away from classes on Monday returned to the school on Tuesday after officials visited the village.

Over 100 students did not go to schools to protest against the panchayat union school headmistress' decision not to grant permission to use the school premises for serving the marriage feast of a local youth. Revenue and Education department officials conducted a meeting with the villagers. They refused to transfer the headmistress citing she was not authorised to give permission to use the school for other purposes. However, the officials promised to appoint one more teacher.

Water levelMADURAI: The level in the Periyar dam on Tuesday stood at 121 feet (full level 136 feet) with an inflow of 315 cusecs and a discharge of 1,000 cusecs. The level in the Vaigai dam was 44.23 feet (full level 71 feet) with an inflow of 739 cusecs and a discharge of 41 cusecs.

Staff Reporter

HeldERODE: A driver was arrested here on Monday, for injuring a Sub-Inspector, and carrying illegally quarried sand.

According to the police, Sangeetha, SI attached to the Kavindapady Police Station was on a vehicle check. When a tractor refused to stop, she went after the vehicle on her motorcycle. The driver had hit her vehicle with the tractor, and Ms. Sangeetha fell off her vehicle. However, a few other police personnel around stopped the tractor, and found that it carried sand. The tractor with the sand was seized.

- Staff Reporter

KilledERODE: A 16-year-old tutorial college student died in a road accident here on Tuesday. According to the police, Dhamodaran, son of Krishnasamy of Kongampalayam near Erode, in a college in Periyarnagar here, was hit by a motorcycle while crossing the Erode-Chitode Main Road. He was removed to the Erode Government Headquarters Hospital, where he died.

- Staff Reporter

Constables suspendedERODE: The Superintendent of Police Sonal V. Misra suspended two police constables here on Monday. Ms. Misra said that Velmurugan, attached to the Erode Taluk police was suspended, as he recently kept off duty, gotten himself drunk, and in uniform, quarrelled with the public and entered the District Police Office. Similarly, Palanisamy, an Armed Reserve Constable too was suspended as he went to the Bangalapudur police station without applying for leave, and quarrelled with Dhanalakshmi, who came to the station on Monday.

- Staff Reporter

Novel protestSALEM: As a novel form of protest, a farmer dressed in dhoti and without a shirt tried to enter the meeting hall where the farmers' grievances redressal meeting was in progress on Tuesday demanding the district officials to fulfil his demands. K. Kannaiyan of Tirumanur asked the district administration to remove garbage dumped on the roadsides in his village. He wanted the officials to evict the encroachments on the water carrying canals and desilt the Andikudai tank. The officials prevented him from entering the meeting hall. He then agreed to wear a shirt and represent his case before the officials.

- Staff Reporter

Lawyers boycott courtsSALEM: Lawyers in the district boycotted court proceedings on Tuesday supporting the students of the private law college here, who were opposing the college administration for collecting exorbitant fee from students who came under government quota. - Staff Reporter

Engineer diesSALEM: An engineer was killed when the motorcycle on which he was travelling collided with another in Taramangalam on Monday evening. The police said Sivashanmuga Narayanan (25) of Thinnapatti was returning home after attending a funeral, when the accident occurred. He died at Salem Government Medical College Hospital.

- Staff Reporter

Universities sign agreementThanjavur: Tamil University here and Sabaragamuwa University of Sri Lanka, Belihuloya, have signed an agreement recently to further educational and research activities. Their activities will include exchange of teaching and administrative staff, researchers and students, organising joint research and academic seminars, says a press release issued here on Tuesday. Initially the exchange activities will be confined to Tamil Language, social sciences, management, ancient sciences, drama, Tamil studies in foreign countries, translation, environmental and herbal sciences, tribal research centre, computer science and other areas of interest.

Conduct mock drill, says Collector Thanjavur: The Collector C.Vijayaraj Kumar on Tuesday asked the fire service personnel to hold a mock drill to create awareness of its preparedness in case of a flood. Discussing the issue with fire and other department officials, he said the fire service personnel should conduct the drill at Thiruvaiyaru before September 10. National Cadet Corps and Home Guards should be involved in the exercise. Similar exercise should be done at Pattukottai and Kumbakonam.

N. Muthukaruppan, District Revenue Officer, E.Vasudevan, Revenue Divisional Officer, Pattukottai, M.Jothi, Joint Director of Agriculture, Ramamoorthy, Assistant Executive Engineer, PWD, participated in the meeting.

Huts guttedPUDUKOTTAI: Eight huts were gutted at Meemisal near Aranthangi on Tuesday. Fire fighting units from Aranthangi fought the flames for about an hour. A spark from an oven was said to have caused the accident. The value of the property damaged has been put at Rs. 15 lakh. The Meemisal police have registered a case.

Fishermen missingPUDUKOTTAI: Three fishermen, who ventured for fishing at Kottaipatinam near Meemisal on Monday, were missing.

Police gave the names of the fishermen as Muniasamy (35), Selvendran (30) and Chandran (32). A group of fishermen, including the boat owner, Dullus, launched a search on Tuesday.

Mettur levelTiruchi: The water level in the Mettur dam stood at 116.37 feet against its full level of 120 feet on Tuesday with an inflow of 9,442 cusecs and a discharge of 19,952 cusecs.

Two killedNagercoil: Two persons were killed on the spot and five others sustained injuries in a road accident here on Tuesday. The driver of a brick-laden lorry lost control of the vehicle when he tried to negotiate a curve near Thiruvattar. The lorry fell into a ditch, killing the occupants Vijayan and Mani of Chitharal on the spot. Jeyakumar, Thangappan, Wilson, Ramesh and Rajesh who sustained injuries were admitted to hospital.

Gang sets bike ablazeNagercoil: A gang set ablaze a motorcycle and attacked two persons with sickles at Periyavilai near Kottaram on Monday. Owing to previous enmity, Balakrishnan and some others of Kottaram attacked Sudhan and Ganesan of the same area. Both sustained cut injuries and were admitted to hospital.

Four held for murderTuticorin: The police on Tuesday arrested four persons on a charge of murdering Sintha Mathar (34) at Padmanagaram near here on Monday. The Arumuganeri police are on the look out for three more persons.

Idols immersedTuticorin: Seven Ganesha idols, installed at various parts of the district as part of Vinayaka Chathurthi celebration, were immersed on Monday and Tuesday.

The ones at Srivaikundam and Manakarai were immersed in Tamirabarani and the rest at Kurumbur, Eral, Sawyerpuram and Puthiyapudur were immersed in the sea.

Superintendent of Police John Nicholson said that the police had provided tight security for the immersion of 45 idols at Tiruchendur on Wednesday.

MurderedVIRUDHUNAGAR: In two separate incidents, a man and a woman were found murdered and another man committed suicide in the district on Tuesday. P. Ramasamy (33) was found dead with severe head injuries at the residence of his cousin S. Muniyandi in Nellikulam. A family problem is suspected to the reason behind the murder.

In the second incident, a married woman, K. Muthumari (32), was hacked to death by her relative C. Sundaramoorthi at West Street in Irrukkangudi. Later, Sundaramoorthi committed suicide by consuming poison. Staff Reporter