An attempt by Dalits to enter a temple in Nagapattinam district turned violent on Wednesday after villagers of other castes pelted stones following which the police fired in the air.
The Dalits were to be allowed into the Ekambareshwarar temple at Chettipulam village as part of an understanding reached during October 7 peace talks held by revenue officials with the villagers and Communist Party of India-Marxist workers, spearheading the initiative to lift the ban on entry of the oppressed classes.
Hundreds of CPI (M) cadre and Dalits led by Nagai Member of the Legislative Assembly Marimuthu came to the village on Wednesday to enter the temple.
However, the villagers insisted they would allow only the Dalits belonging to the village and not outsiders, leading to a tense situation, officials said.
As the local Dalits accompanied by district officials proceeded towards the temple in vans, villagers allegedly pelted stones on the vehicles in which Vedaranyam Deputy Superintendent of Police Chandrasekaran sustained minor injuries, the police said.
They made a lathicharge to disperse the crowd, followed by eight rounds of firing in air to disperse the crowd, the police said. No one was injured in the lathicharge.
The police said the situation was under control now.Following the violence, the Dalits could not enter the temple. Security had been deployed in Chettipulam area.