Tension gripped Natham Colony in Dharmapuri District on Wednesday evening when a group torched huts of Scheduled Tribes families.
Police said over 30 huts were set ablaze, but the number could be more. No casualties were reported.
The incident was set to have been triggered by the suicide of a caste Hindu, Nagarajan of Sellankottai who was said to have been distraught over his daughter marrying a Dalit boy from Natham Colony. Last month, the girl, Divya (20), student of a private nursing college here, married Illavarasan (23), who was studying in another college. Nagarajan had repeatedly tried to persuade his daughter to return home. It was said that he made one more attempt early on Wednesday. When the daughter refused to come back, he returned home and hanged himself. A group placed his body on the Tiruppattur Road and blocked traffic. Later, another group set fire to huts in the colony, but the occupants of the huts fled. Top district officials rushed to the spot.