CUDDALORE: Tension prevailed in the Pennadam locality after two villagers from Semberri near Thittakudi were allegedly kidnapped by sand mafia operating in the Vellar river. The duo who were kidnapped on Sunday night were let off on Monday morning. Since the village is located in the border of Ariylaur and Cuddalore districts, revenue officials keep passing the bucks regarding illegal sand mining, villagers alleged.
Dhanavel, leader of the Vellar River Protection group, said that the smugglers have been targeting the group members. Vellar river flows from Ariyalur district and is the lifeline for farmers in Pennadam.
In the wee hours of Monday, Manikandan and Balaji, both Semberri locals, were found missing after they had gone to prevent sand mining on Sunday night. The sand smugglers have been using an earthmover to dredge the sand. The duo who had gone to question the illegal activity were pushed inside a car and beaten up severely before being let off.
Manikandan and Balaji have been admitted to the Thittakudi Government Hospital and a case is registered at the Thalavai police station in Ariyalur district. The villagers also informed revenue officials about the district.
During a meeting 15 days ago, revenue and police officials were informed of the illegal mining by the villagers and the officials had assured them to curb it. The villagers claimed that the authorities are not interested in taking on the sand smugglers.