Normalcy returns to TN after violence

The tension in the wake of the face-off between supporters of Dalit leader John Pandiyan and the police began to ease as the latter was released early on Tuesday. Pandiyan’s was arrested when he tried to proceed to Paramakudi sparking protests which later turned violent.

While schools and colleges in Ramanathapuram district remained closed, bus services were partially resumed on Tuesday morning. However, rail passengers of the super fast Chennai-Sencottah ‘Pothigai’ Express had a providential escape when  a sabotage attempt on the track near Sankarankovil in neighbouring Tirunelveli district  failed.

The train hit a concrete sleeper slab kept on the railway track at Valavandalapuram, on the Rajapalayam-Sankarankovil section in the Madurai Division of the Southern Railway, official sources said. The train driver, applying brakes found broken pieces of concrete slabs scattered near the track. A technical team was rushed to the spot to set right the damaged track.

More police reinforcements have been moved to the southern districts including commando units, sources said. Nonetheless, in Theni district adjoining Madurai, also prone to caste clashes, the aftershocks of the police firing was felt when some miscreants hurled petrol bombs in the wee hours at a luxury bus from Bangalore proceeding towards Kumuli in Kerala.  Two persons, including the bus driver, were seriously injured when the bomb explosions smashed the vehicle’s front glass.

A few other incidents of stone-pelting at government buses in Ramanathapuram district also forced the authorities to cancel some buses bound for Madurai and diverted others bound for different destinations.

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