Tamil Nadu police firing: Toll rises to seven

The death toll in the police firing on a stone-pelting mob of Dalits in Paramakudi has risen to seven.

Paramakudi: With two more persons
succumbing to injuries at a hospital, the death toll in the
police firing on a stone-pelting mob of Dalits, who indulged
in violence following detention of their leader John Pandian,
has risen to seven, police said on Monday.

Two persons identified as Teerpukani and Vellaichamy
succumbed to injuries late last night.

Officials have suspended bus services to the rural areas
in the sensitive districts, including Ramanathapuram, Madurai,
Sivaganga and Virudhunagar as a precautionary step.
Additional police reinforcement have been brought from
Tiruchirappalli, police said.

Violence broke out yesterday after news spread that
Pandian had been detained at Tuticorin en route to Paramakudi
when he was on his way to pay homage to Dalit leader Imanuel
Sekar on his death anniversary.

Police used tear gas and batons before firing at the
crowd at Paramakudi. Several people and police officials,
including DIG Sandeep Mittal and SP Senthil Velan and DSP
Ganesan were injured in the stone pelting. More than 15
vehicles were set ablaze in the violence.

Police said they had arrested 57 persons in Tirumangalam
and more than 50 in Paramakudi for indulging in violence.
Local Dalit leaders blamed police for not making proper
arrangements to manage the huge crowd expected for paying
homage to the Dalit leader.

However, defending the police firing, Chief Minister
Jayalalithaa had yesterday blamed some people for disrupting
law and order "for their own political gains."

"The protesters indulged in large-scale violence and
torched police vehicles. Police opened fire in self defence
and to protect public property", Jayalalithaa, who announced
Rs one lakh compensation to the next of kin of those killed,

Meanwhile, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK)
leader Vaiko has demanded a judicial probe into the police

He also met some of the injured in the viol
ence at the
Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai.

About 150 members of Tamizhaga Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam
observed fast in Theni condemning the firing on Dalits.

They also demanded action against those who were
responsible for the firing.


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