Tamil Nadu: Violence breaks out in Kallakurichi over girl's death; police opens fire
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin appealed to the people to maintain peace and assured them that those guilty would be punished.
Violence broke out near Kallakurichi on Sunday as demonstrators seeking justice for the death of a girl student went on the rampage, torching cars and engaging in stone-throwing in which police officers were also targeted. Police opened fire twice into the air to control the angry rioters.
MK Stalin, the chief minister, pleaded with the populace to uphold the peace and promised that those who broke the law would face the consequences. Stalin tweeted that he had ordered senior authorities to travel immediately to Kallakurichi.
Police said the protesters attacked the grounds of an "international" school in adjacent Chinnasalem, breaking down police-erected barricades as they did so, and set buses parked there on fire.
Additionally, several of them burned down a police vehicle. Hammers were used to flip an automobile over and cause damage. Several demonstrators succeeded in getting to the terrace, vandalised the school sign, and carried tall banners demanding justice for the murdered girl.
Police tried to scatter the demonstrators despite being outnumbered for a spell. As part of the response, police officers from neighbouring districts have started to come here.
Many protesters were given free rein to commit acts of destruction on the school's property. Some vandalised and set on fire items including furniture and an almirah taken from the school.
The youth organisation's volunteers are among the demonstrators, who came in large numbers in response to social media posts encouraging unity for justice.
Several officers in uniform scooped up the stones that protesters were throwing at the police and returned them to the crowds. Due to the violence, which started as a "road blockage protest" on Sunday, there were delays in traffic on the busy Chennai-Salem route.
Director General of Police C Sylendra Babu appealed to the people to maintain calm and warned against resorting to violence. Tough action would be taken against those indulging in violence, he told reporters in Chennai.
A-17 year old girl, studying Class 12 in a private residential school in Chinnasalem, about 15 km from here was found dead on July 13 in the hostel premises. The girl, an inmate of a room on the third floor of the hostel was suspected to have ended her life by jumping to the ground from the top floor.
A postmortem report reportedly indicated that she had sustained injuries before her death. Police registered a case, and a probe is on. Shocked by her death, her parents, relatives and people belonging to her village Periyanasalur, off Veppur in Cuddalore district, have been staging non-stop protests seeking justice.
Blaming the 'international' school authorities and seeking action against them, they held a protest on July 16 for the fourth successive day. Their demands, which have the support of a political outfit and the youth wing of a Left party, include a CB-CID probe and arrest of those responsible for the girl's death.
(With inputs from PTI)