Salem: Police fired teargas to disperse a large number of people who pelted stones at them when they intervened to stop traditional `eruthattam` (bull chase) festival sought to be held in violation of Madras high court orders banning it.
Trouble broke out as devotees of Moonkil Kuthu Muniappan temple in nearby Neikarapatti and 18 surrounding hamlets remained firm on organising the bull chase last evening despite the court not granting permission, police said.
Salem District Collector Magarabhusanam and Superintendent of Police Aswin Kottnis had told the villagers that they cannot hold the event in view of the court orders.
Protesting this, the villagers resorted to road block. When police intervened, they allegedly pelted stones at the police personnel following which police fired teargas shells to disperse them, DIG (Salem Range) Sanjay Kumar said today.
He said nine police personnel, including an Inspector, were injured in the stone pelting. While the Inspector had been hospitalised others were treated as outpatients.
The DIG said 78 villagers were arrested last night and heavy police pickets had been posted in the area.