“Murders out of enmity over quarrying rights have reached alarming proportions”
TAMBARAM: The Pallavaram police have registered a First Information Report against a 27-year-old man and several of his accomplices in connection with the murder of A. Ramachandran (43), president of Tirusulam village panchayat, on Wednesday evening.
Police told reporters that they were searching for ‘Kali’ Ramachandran and others.
Rivalry had grown between the two after the victim refused to pay a sum of Rs. 50,000 demanded by the suspect.
Situation in Tirusulam was tense even on Thursday morning. Normality was restored after a large number of policemen arrived.
On Wednesday evening, Tirusulam resembled a war zone when supporters of Ramachandran went on the rampage and damaged lorries, earthmovers and set fire to them. Thatched huts and temporary structures near the site offices of quarries and stone crushing units were gutted.
Residents of Tirusulam also gathered in large numbers at Tambaram Taluk Government Hospital in Chromepet where the victim’s body was sent for post-mortem.
Even late on Wednesday night at the hospital, women described Ramachandran as a “non controversial” person.
Stating that murders in Tirusulam out of personal enmity over quarrying rights and political rivalry had reached alarming proportions, they appealed to the police, political parties and the State government to take steps to put an end to such “mindless violence.”
Police officials said that the motive behind the murder was established and the assailants and the mastermind would be apprehended shortly.
They said that on Wednesday night, the situation seemed to be getting out of their hands as vehicles were set afire and property torched.
The situation was brought under control on Thursday morning .Ward members of Tirusulam, both past and present, told reporters that quarrying and stone crushing units were a thriving industry providing direct employment to nothing less than 5,000 people, most of whom were migrant workers from outside Chennai, predominantly Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts.
Stone quarrying was being carried out in Tirusulam for around five decades. They said that five quarries and 73 stone crushing units were currently in operation. In the past couple of decades, animosity between different sections had grown and intensified over which group established complete rights over quarrying operations, especially in those areas where laid down norms of government were violated by owners and contractors.