Villagers demand arrest of those involved in ‘murder’

Two youth attempt self-immolation and a woman swoons while staging protest

A day after staging a road blockadein front of the Government District Hospital here, residents of Ilamanur staged a sit-in dharna in front of the Collector’s camp office here on Monday, demanding the arrest of those involved in the alleged murder of former panchayat vice-president for objecting to sand quarrying in a waterbody in the village.

The residents, including a large number of women, staged the dharna in front of the main gate for about three hours. Tension prevailed when two youth attempted self-immolation but police thwarted their attempt. A woman swooned and she was rushed to the hospital.

The villagers dispersed only after Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao came out and assured to take stern action against the accused and arrange for compensation to the family of the deceased as per law. The deceased is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters, aged 18 and 15 years. Later, the family members accepted the body after post mortem and conducted the funeral.

Police said a group of villagers objected to sand quarrying in Puzhuthikulam kanmoi (tank) when the quarry workers chased and attacked them. They chased B. Mohan, 47, who had served as vice- president of Ilamanur and murdered him by pushing him into the water in the kanmoi. Five villagers were injured in the incident and admitted to the Government Hospital, police said.

Mr. Rao, after visiting the injured in the hospital, told reporters that police had been asked to take stern action against the accused. He said teams comprising police and revenue officials had been formed to prevent illegal sand quarrying across the district. Criminal action would be taken against those who tried to take law into their hands, he said.

Meanwhile, Kenikarai police registered an FIR against the five accused and others on various charges, including 302 (murder) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt, using dangerous weapons) of Indian Penal Code. While Anandaraj, one of the accused who held the permit for quarrying, surrendered before a court in Kancheepuram, the police are searching for others.

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