Tension prevailed in the Washermenpet area on Sunday as cadre from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) traded allegations of assault.
Akbar, a resident of New Washermenpet, was hospitalised after being allegedly assaulted by a group of VHP workers for opposing the erection of a flex board in front of a mosque. “Akbar came out of the mosque when a group of VHP members were making provocative statements. When he questioned them, they started assaulting him with a sickle, resulting in a cut on his leg,” said a local resident.
Members of the VHP, meanwhile, claimed that one of their cadre, Parthasarathy, was attacked by the SDPI members, who also damaged their flex boards.
Besides, a television news channel reporter, a cameraman and two photojournalists were also assaulted by the members of SDPI when they went to cover the incident.
Thanthi TV reporter Ramanan Gokul had gone to interview an SDPI functionary at the Parthasarathy Street in Old Washermenpet.
“The functionary said that he was ready to talk about the allegations. But when I took my cameraman and placed a microphone in front of him, he started using abusive language. When I asked him to talk decently, some persons accompanying him started assaulting me and my cameraman Balaji,” Gokul said.
Balaji was hit on the head with an iron rod. He claimed that his microphone and camera were snatched. Two photojournalists belonging to different newspapers were also manhandled by the SDPI cadre. A few reporters who were standing nearby were warned against staying back.
Police sources said that there had been much animosity between the SDPI and the VHP in the recent days as the latter has been erecting flex boards in the locality in run up to the opening of a new branch of the organisation. Police personnel were posted in the area to prevent further untoward incidents.