TIRUNELVELI, February 9, 2012
Normality returns to Sankarankoil
Police presence keeps situation under control
An uneasy calm prevails at Sankarankoil which witnessed a pitched
battle on Tuesday night between two communities though the situation
is fully under control with people going about their business as usual
on Wednesday, thanks to police action.
Police are probing the presence of a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member,
who was walking along with the Dalits during the procession and
disappeared before the riot broke out.
Apart from arresting 19 persons, including Sankarankoil municipality's
DMK councillor N. Syed Ibrahim (42) of ward 17 — all allegedly
involved in the clash and also in the arson in which 15 shops were
destroyed — police are on the lookout for more rioters. Fifteen
persons, including five police personnel, who were injured in the
clash, are undergoing treatment in hospitals.
"Based on the information we've collected so far, a massive hunt is on
to nab all those who were involved in the clash," said Deputy
Inspector-General Police, Tirunelveli Range, V. Varadharaju.
Over 800 policemen have been deployed at Sankarankoil and the entry of
the community leaders into the riot-affected town has been banned.
Consequently, all business establishments, except those run by a
community, remained open throughout the day and all educational
institutions functioned normally.
With the police patrolling Sankarankoil town, normality returned on
Wednesday morning with town and mofussil buses plying as scheduled.
When a small group of people resorted to stone pelting, the police
chased them away. Strong police forces were deployed near places of
Though the police initially denied permission for offerings at a
temple, Mr. Bidari, who ensured a strong police deployment there,
allowed it later but refused permission to the Dalits to take out a
procession prior to the ritual.
When Revenue Divisional Officer Elangovan invited five representatives
from both sides for reconciliatory talks scheduled to be held at the
Taluk Office, the community heads reportedly told the revenue
officials that they would discuss the issue and the subsequent arrests
made by the police in their meetings first and then attend the meeting
to be conducted by officials.
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