Staff Reporter

TIRUNELVELI: Director of Manitha Urimai Kalam, a Palayamkottai-based ‘human rights organisation,’ M.Bharathan, was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a triple murder case.

According to Superintendent of Police Asra Garg, K.Madhan (35), who was residing at Suththamalli near here, his friends S. Ayyappan (37) and N. Ayyappan (32) of the same area were murdered by an armed gang belonging to another community when they were standing near a pond on January 11.

Special teams formed to probe the murders arrested 23 persons, including a Thaazhaiyooththu-based moneylender, who extended financial assistance to the assailants. With the arrest of Mr.Bharathan, the number of persons arrested has risen to 24.

The brain

“The police came to know that Bharathan was the brain behind this heinous crime. He has been lodged in the Palayamkottai central prison,” Mr.Garg said. He has been charged under Sections 302 of Indian Penal Code (Murder) and 120B (Criminal Conspiracy).

The police had received several complaints against this “self-proclaimed human rights activist,” from the public. “We’ve collected evidences against him for brokering forcible settlement of disputes,” Mr.Garg said.

Demanding the banning of ‘Manitha Urimai Kalam,’ a group of people from Rajavallipuram had submitted petitions to District Collector and the Superintendent of Police on April 2 and the arrest of its administrators, “since it was creating animosity between Dalits and other communities by spreading rumours.”

The petitioners had alleged that the cordial relationship prevailing between the communities of their hamlet, which had fought intense battle in the past in the name of caste and consequently lost several lives, was being vitiated through sustained attempts by Bharathan and administrators of ‘Manitha Urimai Kalam.’ The District Collector and the Superintendent of Police had then assured the petitioners that the district and the police administration would take efforts to avoid communal rifts and to ensure peace in every village.