A restaurant named after social reformer Thanthai Periyar was vandalised by members of the Hindu Munnani near Karamadai in Coimbatore district on Tuesday.
A senior police officer told The Hindu that the Karamadai police arrested five members of the Hindu outfit on Wednesday in connection with the vandalism and the assault on staff - M. Arun and his mother M. Nagarani.
K. Prabhakaran, a wholesale chicken dealer from Teachers Colony, said he had set up the outlet, named ‘Thanthai Periyar Unavagam’, for Arun, the son of one of his employees. The plan was to open it on Wednesday, said Mr. Prabhakaran, who likes Periyar’s ideology.
However, Hindu Munnani cadre from the area opposed the move, saying the village was their fortress. Members of the outfit vandalised the restaurant around 6.30 p.m. on Tuesday and assaulted Mr. Arun and his mother, who were hospitalised.
The senior police officer said the accused were under the influence of alcohol. “There were six persons, of whom we have arrested five,” the official said.
The accused were identified as R. Ravibharathi, 39, K. Prabhu, 27, M. Sunil aka Sudheesh Kumar, 30, V. Saravanakumar, 30, and S. Vijayakumar, 26.
The five men were arrested for offences under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Women’s Harassment Act and the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act. They were produced before a court and remanded in judicial custody.
Various Periyarist and like-minded organisations condemned the incident. The police stepped up surveillance in the locality to avert further law and order issues.
Meanwhile, Mr. Prabhakaran said the restaurant would be opened with the same name board on September 17.