HEADLINES:
November 17 2018
Communal clash at Shencottai over idol procession route
14 September 2018

Peace talks with both the communities to continue on Friday

A clash broke out between a section of Hindus and Muslims at Shencottai near Tirunelveli on Thursday night when a Vinayaka idol, was taken via the street where the Muslims live in large number. This is the usual route through which the religious procession is taken annually.

Police and revenue officials have planned to organise a peace meeting between representatives of both communities on Friday, September 14, to find an amicable solution to the issue.

When a group of Hindus including good number of women took the Vinayaka idol in a cargo auto with band in procession via Shencottai West Periya Pallivaasal Street around 9 p.m. to be installed in front of Vandimarichamman Temple as part of Vinayaka chathurthi celebrations, a section of Muslims, mostly youths, opposed it saying that the idol should be taken via a nearby alternative route. However, rallyists argued since the past several years the Vinayaga idol procession had been taken via the street. All this happened in the presence of police.

Suddenly, stones and empty liquor bottles were pelted in which eight persons including three police personnel were injured. Sensing the situation, the cargo auto driver sped away the vehicle with the statue to Vandimarichamman Temple.

In the violence, seven cars and three autos, all parked along the Periya Pallivaasal Street were damaged. Miscreants also damaged two shops and an ATM.

'Inadequate police force'

Both the communities blamed inadquate police force as the reason for the clash. “At least ten policemen would be deployed along Periya Pallivaasal Street every year when the statues are taken in procession. The rally would be peaceful. But this year, only two women police constables had been stationed on the street that led to the problem,” they alleged.

Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tirunelveli Range, Kapil Kumar Saratkar and Superintendent of Police P Ve Arunshakthikumar, who arrived at the spot around midnight with additional police force, held talks with the Hindus and the Muslims till 2.30 a.m.

As the talks failed to break the deadlock, it was decided to resume talks in the presence of revenue officials on Friday morning.

Around 500 policemen have been deployed at Shencottai after the clash.

 

 

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