A group of 12 devotees from Andhra Pradesh were attacked by a 12-member gang of locals of Vellalapatti in the district on Wednesday alleging that the visitors attempted to conduct ‘human sacrifice’ at a temple near Melavalavu.
Police said P Shabi (29), of Hyderabad, had come with a group of 11, including his relatives and friends, on a tour of temples in Tamil Nadu. The group after visiting several temples in Thanjavur on Monday then proceeded to the Velli Muniyandi temple in Sitharuvipatti near Vellalapatti.
While Shabi and other visitors were performing a special puja at the temple with the help of locals Senthil, Somu, Pulikesi and Sundaramurthi of Kidaripatti, a group of villagers rushed to the shrine and halted the rituals midway. The mob of 12 allegedly assaulted and snatched eight sovereign of gold jewels and Rs 52,000 in cash from the devotees. Their car was also allegedly damaged.
Following this Shabi lodged a complaint with the based on which police registered a case and arrested 12 persons from Vellalapatti.
Irked by the police action, around 100 villagers agitated in front of the office of the Superintendent of Police, demanding withdrawal of the case and alleged that the devotees intended to rob the idol and do a human sacrifice at the temple.
“A woman and child were sitting half-naked before the idol late at night. When residents asked them to stop the puja, they attacked us,” Nagaraj, a local resident said.
Another villager Murugan said, “When chased by locals, the group escaped from the spot with several silver spears belonging to the temple. But villagers recovered them,” he said.