Special Correspondent

Pattali Makkal Katchi workers assault railway employees

SALEM: Tension prevailed at Salem junction since early morning on Tuesday after some workers of Pattali Makkal Katchi allegedly assaulted a ticket collector and threatened two other employees of the information counter before boarding a train to Madurai.

Railway sources said PMKs youth wing secretary R. Arul and some of his followers came to the junction at 2 a.m. to board the Mysore-Tuticorin Express to go to Madurai for attending the party’s youth conference.

As their tickets were on the wait-list, they asked ticket collector T. Shanmugam, who was manning the information counter then, to check whether the reservation for them had been confirmed. Mr. Shanmugam told them that since the computer network had crashed, he was not able to verify and asked them to check the charts.

An irked Arul and his supporters picked a quarrel with the employees in the counter. In the melee, Shanmugam was allegedly beaten up. He was admitted to the government hospital here. Both sides lodged complaints with the Railway Police.

Inspector S. Periyasamy said the incident was recorded in the community service register, as the complainants were not available for immediate enquiry. “We will begin our investigation tomorrow.”

Condemning the assault, members of the Dakshina Railway Employees Union staged a demonstration. S. Tirupathi, Salem divisional treasurer of the union, demanded the immediate arrest of those responsible for the assault. Otherwise, he said, the protest would continue.

A senior railway official said there was no disruption in train services.