Tirunelveli: A rail blockade by members of the Manithaneya Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (MMMK) in protest against the movie “The Innocence of Muslims” turned violent in Tirunelveli on Friday. As announced earlier, cadre of the MMMK, a Tirunelveli-based organisation, gathered near the Tirunelveli Railway Junction on Friday evening. The police too were ready for the showdown as a large posse of personnel led by Deputy Commissioner N Manivannan was deployed in front of the railway junction.
Around 3.45 pm, close to 500 MMMK cadre led by its leader Palai S Rafeeq marched towards the railway station. As they approached the station, the police put up barricades to restrict them. The members attempted to break through the barricades and enter the railway station. The protesters entered into a scuffle with the police who resorted to a lathi charge to disperse them.
The MMMK cadre as well as cops suffered injuries in the mellee. The protestors ran helter skelter due to the police baton charge but then regrouped and damaged widow panes of buses at the Tirunelveli Junction bus stand and nearby roads and even damaged a police booth. Deputy Commissioner Manivannan told Express that the ‘mild’ lathi charge was ordered after the protestors attempted to break through the barricades and scuffled with the police.
Seven police personnel, were injured, the Deputy Commissioner added. Tirunelveli City Police Commissioner said 278 protestors were arrested.