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Buses attacked in southern districts, 400 persons held

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Smashed: The windscreen of one of the buses that was damaged in Virudhunagar district on Monday.
Smashed: The windscreen of one of the buses that was damaged in Virudhunagar district on Monday.

Special Correspondent

Protest against alleged attack on convoy of Puthiya Tamilagam leader

MADURAI: At least 20 buses, including a Kerala State Road Transport Corporation bus, were stoned and a few vehicles partially burnt since Sunday night in Madurai, Virudhunagar, Dindigul and Tirunelveli districts by mobs in protest against the alleged attack on the convoy of Puthiya Tamilagam leader K. Krishnasamy near Uthapuram on Sunday night.

Dr. Krishnasamy escaped unhurt when a strong mob armed with weapons attacked his convoy at Ezhumalai village. The Dalit leader was returning from Uthapuram, after conducting a study about the recent clashes and allegations of police excesses in the aftermath of the demolition of a portion of the untouchability wall that segregated a Dalit colony from caste Hindus.

Police arrested about 400 persons for various offences, including damage to public transport corporation buses, till Monday night, Inspector-General of Police (South Zone) Sanjeev Kumar told The Hindu.

As the news of the attack on the Dalit leader’s convoy spread, many PT cadres blocked road traffic on Monday morning at Madurai, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts. On information, the police arrested the agitators and detained them.

In Tirunelveli and Tuticorin, the agitators hurled bottles filled with petrol and set fire to the seats. The window panes were destroyed.

The KSRTC bus was stoned near Srivilliputtur. In Madurai district, state transport corporation buses were provided with escort on a few sensitive routes as a precautionary measure, Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Madurai Range) S.S.Krishnamoorthy said.

A senior official in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Madurai Division) said that in all the vehicles, the windscreens were completely damaged. Mr. Sanjeev Kumar said severe action would be taken as per the law against violators. According to reports reaching here from different districts in south zone, at least 20 vehicles were damaged in stone throwing incidents.

Based on the investigation, further arrests would be made, he added.

“Planned attack”

Dr. Krishnasamy alleged that the attack on his convoy was planned by a group of persons who did not want peace to prevail in Uthapuram.

Addressing a press conference here, Dr. Krishnasamy claimed that the police did not provide him adequate security. He wanted the government to take action against those responsible for it.

The 300-member-strong mob had erected a barricade of soda bottles and stones on the narrow lane in Ezhumalai village to prevent the movement of vehicles. A group of villagers, armed with stones and sticks, started attacking the vehicles and throwing stones.

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