Communal clash sparks tension

JAYAMKONDAN, JULY 20. Tension prevailed in Meensuriti village near Jayamkondan in Perambalur district late last night following a communal clash between Vanniyars and Dalits of the village. A petrol bunk was looted, a brick kiln and a saw mill were set afire in the clashes which erupted following the alleged pulling down of a PMK party flag at the Meensuriti bazaar on Tuesday.

The incident comes in the wake of the local PMK men's demand for removal of a DPI flag post erected near an Ambedkar statue in the bazaar.

They claimed that the flag post was in a precarious condition and could fall down and damage the statue. The revenue officials had called for peace talks between the two groups.

Meanwhile, the PMK flag was pulled down by some persons on Tuesday night.

The PMK men lodged a complaint with the local police over the incident.

However, the incident had created mutual distrust between the two communities.

On Wednesday night, Panneerselvam, a local resident belonging to the Vanniyar community, was allegedly intercepted and stabbed by some miscreants in the village.

As the news spread, a group of his community men, ransacked and looted a petrol bunk owned by Tamilselvam, a Dalit.

In retaliatory attacks by the rival groups, a brick kiln and a saw mill were set afire and damaged. The situation was brought under control after senior police officials, including Mr. J. K. Tripathy, DIG, Tiruchi Range, reached the spot with police reinforcements. About 40 persons, belonging to both groups, were rounded up.

Four cases have been registered. Paneerselvam, who sustained stab injuries, has been admitted to a private hospital. Heavy police pickets have been posted in the village to prevent any further untoward incident. The situation in the village was calm this morning, the police said.