Tension prevailed at Periya Manali, as shops were shut in support of a traders association president and 22 persons were arrested as a preventive measure on Thursday, following a recent brawl between the president and two Scheduled Caste schoolboys.
According to the police, Thangamani (56) of Periya Manali, near Vaiyappamalai in Namakkal district, is the president of the Periya Manali traders association and an AIADMK party cadre.
In the evening of September 16, a quarrel broke out between Mr. Thangamani and a truck driver when the driver did not give space for Mr. Thangamani’s car to pass through the road.
During the spat between the duo, two class XII students belonging to Schedule Caste (SC) asked Mr. Thangamani not to use obscene words in the public. Irked by this, he argued with the boys, and it soon turned into a brawl.
Later, Bhoobalan (31), son of Mr. Thangamani and a local villager Sekar (45) also attacked the boys and allegedly asked them to kneel down and apologise to Mr. Thangamani.
Then, a few Dalit outfits that came in support of the boys, admitted them to Namakkal Government Hospital. Mr. Thangamani was also admitted to the hospital.
Receiving complaints from both the parties, Elachipalayam police registered a case against Mr. Thangamani, his son Mr. Bhoobalan, and Mr. Sekar under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The police have also filed a case against the two students and are conducting an investigation. Mr. Thangamani, his son Mr. Bhoobalan and Mr. Sekar went absconding.
In support of Mr. Bhoobalan, most shops in Periya Manali downed their shutters on Thursday.
A meeting organised by the caste Hindus to discuss the issue at a wedding hall was stopped by the police, and 22 people were arrested as a preventive measure. Later in the afternoon, they were released.
Police have been deployed in Periya Manali to prevent any untoward incident.