THANJAVUR: Tension gripped Tirubhuvanam on Wednesday following the murder of a former PMK town secretary allegedly in front of his son.
As members of various parties, including PMK, DMK, BJP, and the relatives of the deceased staged a protest demanding immediate arrest of the murderers, a heavy posse of police was deployed in the silk-weaving town near Kumbakonam to prevent any untoward incident. Meanwhile, four men, whose identities were not released, have been booked as accused in the case.
According to sources, 48-year-old V Ramalingam of Thoondil Vinayagampettai at Tirubhuvanam had been running a business of renting out utensils and shamiana tents for weddings. His shop was located at Tirubhuvanam. He was the town secretary of the PMK five years ago but it is said he was had not been active in the party in recent times.
On Tuesday night, he was reportedly going home from Chettimandapam, in his mini-load van, along with his 17-year-old son.
When the vehicle was passing through a locality dominated by a minority community in Tirubhuvanam, it was allegedly blocked by a car. It is alleged that a group of four came out of the car and attacked Ramalingam’s hands with sharp weapons before speeding off in the car.
Ramalingam, who was grievously injured, was rushed to the Kumbakonam government hospital, bleeding profusely. He was reportedly referred to Thanjavur Medical College Hospital where he was declared brought dead.
Based on a complaint from his son, the Tiruvidaimarudur police registered a case of murder and launched an investigation.
Police sources said the son, in his complaint, said that on Tuesday morning he had accompanied his father to Packiyanathan Thoppu, a Dalit habitation, to take some workers for a function for which they had a contract.
According to the son's complaint, Ramalingam saw a group of men there, including one Rasudeen, ostensibly proselytising. Ramalingam entered into an argument with them. Later they dispersed. When they were returning from work, a group of friends of Rasudeen waylaid and attacked them, the son alleged in his complaint.
The body of Ramalingam was brought to his house after post-mortem in Thanjavur. Karuppu Muruganandam, the Tamil Nadu BJP general secretary, visited and consoled the family members.
Hindu outfits held roadblocks demanding police arrest the murderers immediately. Police pacified them by promising proper action.
Meanwhile, a large contingent of police force was posted at Tirubhuvanam to avoid any untoward incidents. J Loganathan, DIG of Police, Thanjavur range, S S Maheswaran, Thanjavur Superintendent of Police, V A Srinivasan, Ariyalur SP, are camping in the town and monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, a video clip, that has gone viral on social media, shows Ramalingam arguing with the men at Packiyanathan Thoppu. In the video, he is also seen smearing holy ash (Vibhuti) on the forehead of one of the men and taking his skull cap and wearing it himself.
Police sources said the men seen in the video were from Popular Front of India (PFI) and had been on a visit to meet people from other faiths and preach to them about Islam.
PMK has urged the State and Central governments to pay Rs 1 crore as compensation to the family of one Ramalingam, who was allegedly murdered at Thirupuvanam on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in a statement, PMK party founder S Ramadoss alleged that Ramalingam had been hacked to death after he opposed religious conversions. He said those involved in the murder should be arrested and severely punished. Besides, the Tamil Nadu and Central governments should offer Rs 1 crore to the victim's family as compensation.