An altercation between a police constable and an autorickshaw driver led to a police-autorickshaw drivers face-off here on Sunday.
It was stated that around noon an autorickshaw driver Subramani was proceeding towards a petrol bunk near the Municipal Market clock tower from the nearby autorickshaw stand.
Constable Muthukrishnan, who was on traffic duty, had reportedly asked the driver to go around a road divider.
With the driver pointing out that he was only taking the usual route, there had been a heated exchange of words which had led to the duo roughing up each other. Another driver Shanmugham, stated to be the president of the Autorickshaw Drivers Association, had also allegedly joined the scuffle. All the three were admitted to the Government Headquarters hospital. Based on a complaint from the constable, an FIR was registered against the two autorickshaw drivers.
As a mark of protest, all the autorickshaws in the town went off the roads and hundreds of drivers staged a demonstration near the
Independence Square. They demanded withdrawal of the case describing it as false. Over 400 of them were arrested. Meanwhile, Shanmugham escaped from the hospital and a search has been launched for him. To prevent untoward incidents police pickets were posted in various parts of the town.