VELLORE: After sand-mafia allegedly assaulted and injured a college student on Saturday for protesting the mining of sand in the Palar riverbed, villagers gathered in front of the Vellore Collectorate on Saturday night and staged a protest which went on till the wee hours of Sunday.
“The Revenue and PWD department officials have been surveying the riverbed along our village for a project report on a new sand quarry. We have been protesting against the quarry for the last one year and we have submitted several petitions to the district administration to stop the mining project near our village,” said Napoleon.
Villagers claim that the sand-mafia continue to threaten villagers if villager protest against the quarry project and claim that several villagers have been bribed into submission.
“The anti-social elements have given `10,000 each to several families in Sankaranpadi village telling them not to raise any objection. The bribing of villagers took place right under the nose of Revenue officials. Revenue officials remained mute spectators,” claimed another villager.
Despite police assurances of security, the villagers handed over one Anbarasu to the police for assaulting villagers Sugumar and Murthy on Sunday afternoon when the latter two were returning home after seeing the student Vikraman in the hospital. In addition, Superintendent of Police of Vellore P K Senthil Kumari said that they have arrested Viswanathan and Nathagopal following a complaint from the villagers. The duo, in turn, filed a counter complaint against a few of the villagers for abusing them.
“After investigating it properly, we will take further course of action in this regard,” said the SP.