Trouble starts after a religious procession

Police opened fire in the air as two groups threw stones at each other at Devipattinam near here on Friday evening. The incident happened soon after a group took out a procession in connection with an annual temple festival.

The police said six to eight persons from both the sides were injured in stone throwing and admitted to government and private hospitals. Trouble broke out when members of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) objected to a religious group taking out a procession that included participants beating drums and dancing. The group was taking out a procession from Navabashanam on the Devipattinam coast to the Muneeswarar Temple, located one and a half kms away from the coast in connection with the annual festival, when the SDPI members objected to them passing through two places of worship.

As per the existing arrangement, the group had passed though the places of worship en route well before the prayer time at 6 45 p.m., but a section objected to the drum beating and dancing, the police said. Immediately, the police intervened and sorted out the issue, but about 50 to 60 members of the SDPI went to the site where the festival was going on, and started throwing stones at the gathering. Tension ensued when the other group also retaliated, forcing the police to open fire in the air to disperse the clashing groups. Sub-Inspector of Police Muthu Selvam opened three rounds of fire in the air, bringing the situation under control, the police added.

Superintendent of Police N. M. Mylvahanan, who rushed to the spot, said the situation was under control and adequate police force had been deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

The police found the SDPI members acting in aggression and committing mischief, he told The Hindu, and added that cases would be registered against all who indulged in violence.