Mullaperiyar dam issue: Protesters gherao minister

Protesters opposing Mullaperiyar dam gheraoed state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and threw slippers at him near Kumili.

Theni: Protesters opposing Mullaperiyar
dam on Sunday gheraoed state Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and
threw slippers at him near Kumili at the Kerala border after
he tried to pacify them following a lathicharge to quell their
demonstration, which left 50 persons injured, police said.

The minister escaped unhurt and was later taken away from
the spot via another route, they said.

According to the police, the violence broke out after a
man told about 10,000 protesters on the Tamil Nadu side that
he had been attacked by some persons while walking down a road
in Kumili on the Kerala border.

This led to the crowd pelting stones at some people in
Kerala, which was replied in kind. Police used lathicharge to
disperse the crowd here, they said, adding their counterparts
also controlled protesters on the other side.

Panneerselvam, who had gone to the spot to pacify them,
tried in vain to stop the people, who gheraoed him and threw
slippers at him.

The police said cases had been registered against more
than 10 persons for indulging in violence.

The row over the dam has escalated in recent weeks, with
Kerala insisting on a new dam to replace the 116-year-old
structure, citing safety concerns, leading to attacks on
Tamils and Keralites in some parts of both states.

Opposing Kerala`s position, Tamil Nadu has said the dam is
as good as a new one and moved the Supreme Court on the issue.
The dam is located in Kerala, but controlled by Tamil Nadu on
a 999 year lease.

PTI