RAMANATHAPURAM: Three persons were killed in police firing in Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram district in caste-sensitive south Tamil Nadu while several others including senior police officials were injured in stone pelting incidents that lead to the firing on Sunday afternoon.
In Madurai too police opened fire to disperse a crowd of protestors demanding the release of John Pandian, founder of Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam, who was detained on the way to Paramakudi to participate in the 54th memorial day observation of Immanuel Sekaran, a dalit leader.
The detention of John Pandian sparked an immediate agitation by dalits who thronged Paramakudi for the memorial and turned violent moments later. The dalits, who staged a protest, soon started pelting stones on the police injuring Ramanathapuram DIG Sandeep Mittal and Deputy Commissioner of Police KA Senthilvelan prompting the police to open fire. The three protesters were killed after police fired at stone-pelting dalit agitators following reports that their leader John Pandian had been detained.
As the news of the firing and the death spread more dalits started converging at the spot fuelling further unrest. Police had cordoned off the entire district and stopped vehicles at the entry points of the district to prevent escalation of violence. About 5,000 such vehicles that brought dalits from across the state are lined up outside the district.
Police said that many police vehicles were damaged and set on fire by a mob. “We are not even able to go near the memorial, the epicentre of the violent incidents now,” said a police official. The firing occurred around 1 pm at a distance of about one km from the memorial of Immanuel Sekaran. The bodies of the victims are now with the agitators, police said, adding that no women were injured in the firing.
In Madurai, two persons were injured in a police firing at Chintamani area. The firings have sparked tension in the entire southern Tamil Nadu and heavy posse of police have been posted at sensitive spots.