TIRUCHY : A procession taken out by the Muthuraiyar Munnetra Sangam, a caste outfit of Mutharaiyars, a dominant backward community, turned violent here on Wednesday as most of the members, who were in an inebriated condition, started assaulting the public injuring many including children.
There was no police protection in most parts of the procession route. Three children and a pregnant woman sustained injuries, when a section of the mob chased a cop who entered a bus to escape from the attack. The mob attacked the kids with logs and kicked the pregnant woman on her abdomen.
Five policemen, including an inspector, were injured. The logs used to carry the organisation’s flag were used as weapons to attack the public and damage vehicles including autos and buses. About 10 buses including six TNSTC ones and four private buses were attacked with stones and wooden logs.
One of the college buses, which was packed with girl students, also came under the attack. But, no one was injured.
Members of the organisation were proceeding towards the statue of revered Muthuraiyar leader Perumbidugu Muthuraiyar at Cantonment to pay floral tributes to mark the leader’s birth anniversary.
It all began when police tried to control the processionists, who blocked the entire traffic at Ariyamangalam, the entry point to the city from Chennai and Thanjavur.
The processionists on lorries, mini vans and two wheelers started moving from Old Palpannai at Ariyamangalam around 5 pm. As the overcrowded vehicles stated moving at high speed pulling close to buses and other vehicles, a police team, led by Gandhi Market Inspector Kannadasan, rushed to the spot and tried to regulate the vehicles.
But, the members, who were said to be drunk, started attacking the Inspector, who ran towards a bus for safety.
Immediately, another team, led by SI Arivazhagan, came to rescue the inspector. But, they were also beaten up by the gang in which Arivazhagan, head constables Selvam, Karnan and Manivel sustained head injuries.
A gang which chased the inspector caught him inside a private bus bound for Tiruchy from Namakkal. The driver of the bus, Suresh, who along with the passengers tried to resist the mob, was also assaulted. “As soon as they entered the bus, they started beating a pregnant woman sitting near the entrance. They also assaulted three kids accompanying the woman. The kids sustained head injuries,” said Suresh.
Another gang which entered the city from Chathiram bus stand vandalised the barricades and started damaging the vehicles with sticks. However, they were stopped by a group of public at Palakkarai roundabout. Totally 10 buses were damaged.
As bus services were suspended for more than three hours, people who were returning home from work, school, shopping and picnic spots were stranded.
Traffic was hit in all the major points in the city. Normalcy returned only when the procession ended after 8 pm.