Scores of villagers on Wednesday refused to allow the police to take the body of S. Chelladurai, 43, who was hacked to death at Soolapuram near Usilampatti the previous night, to hospital for postmortem.
The victim’s wife, Malarkodi, said they were waylaid while returning home after offering worship at Chellandiamman temple in their village. An armed gang attacked her husband and murdered him near Santhanamariamman temple at Ulaipatti around 8 p.m.
As soon as news of the murder spread, scores of villagers gathered at the spot and staged a protest demanding arrest of the accused who belonged to a rival group.
According to police, after a stone-pelting incident reported at the temple festival last year, Usilampatti Revenue Divisional Officer V. Rajkumar called for a peace meeting in which caste Hindus and SC members participated.
While the SC members demanded that they be allowed inside the temple during the festival to offer worship, the caste Hindus objected.
The RDO denied permission to hold the festival. Only the ritual of madhu kudam was allowed as villagers feared that stopping the ritual might bring bad omen to the village.
Tuesday’s murder took place in this backdrop. Malarkodi accused over 10 persons, including N. Thangappan of the SC community, for the murder, police said.
After police officials pacified the villagers, the body was taken to government hospital in Usilampatti in the afternoon. However, the villagers said they would not allow postmortem till a family member of the deceased was given a government job and they were paid compensation.
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