COIMBATORE: A convoy of Army trucks was attacked near the Neelambur bypass road here on Saturday by Tamil chauvinists belonging to the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) who claimed that the vehicles were transporting weapons for the Sri Lankan Army for use in the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Over 100 activists, armed with stones and logs, blocked the convoy which was ferrying Army personnel, who had completed field training in Secunderabad, to the Madukkarai regiment in Coimbatore district. The windscreens of some vehicles were smashed, and many tyres deflated. The PDK is a breakaway fringe group of the Dravidar Kazhagam.
Two PDK members, K. Ramakrishnan and R. Lakshmanan; two belonging to the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Chandrasekaran and Murugesan; and one Prabakaran were arrested by the Sulur police. Cases of rioting and damage to public property were registered.
According to the police, when the convoy approached the Neelambur bypass road on the outskirts of the city, it was intercepted by the PDK activists led by general secretary Ramakrishnan. Even as some of the agitators blocked the convoy, others deflated the tyres of three trucks. Motor vehicle documents in the trucks, as also helmets, bedrolls and clothing were set on fire. An attempt was also made to burn the tarpaulin of a private truck on Army duty carrying weapons.
Eyewitness accounts said that initially some of the weapons were seen strewn around on the road. However, the Army personnel quickly took safe custody of the weapons.
Eighty more trucks were detained at Perumanallur and at a few other places en route. Army personnel, who came in the other trucks, clashed with the activists. Two journalists were among those injured. Deputy Inspector-General M. Ramasubramani and Superintendent of Police N. Kannan rushed to the spot with reinforcements.
Inspector-General of Police, West Zone, Pramod Kumar later told The Hindu that the activists were removed and the Army convoy was safely moved.
Incident in Salem
In Salem, another group of PDK activists stopped a convoy and entered into a wordy duel with the Army personnel, accusing them of assisting the Sri Lankan Army in its war against the LTTE. The PDK men were accompanied by members of the Tamil Desiya Iyakkam and the Thamizhaga Ilaignar Iyakkam, both fringe groups wedded to Tamil nationalism.Army officers, however, explained that they were returning to their unit after completing training. Only after police intervention was the convoy allowed to move again.
(Courtesy : Daily Mirror)