September 23, 2016
A tense situation prevailed in places in Coimbatore and Tirupur districts, following the murder of a front-ranking leader of the Hindu Munnani, on the city outskirts around midnight yesterday.
Shutters were downed in shops and commercial establishments in both cities, and buses remained off the road since morning.
Munnani spokesman Sasikumar was hacked with sickles and other lethal weapons by a four-member gang, when he was returning home in Subramaniampalayam around 11.30 pm, police said.
Though he was rushed to a private hospital, he died on admission there. Angry Munnani followers targeted the hospital and broke window panes, police said.
As the news of the death spread, the controversial Tamil Nadu-based Hindu organisation called for a State-wide bandh to protest the killing of their leader. Responding to the call, almost all shops in the city, Mettupalayam, Ganapati and rural limits downed shutters.
Activists hurled stones at State and private buses, breaking window screens. In the melee, a driver of a private bus sustained injuries on his hand, police said.
A large number of police is deployed at the Government Hospital, where the postmortem is being carried out. There is also a big police presence at bus stands, and places of worship of a particular community, to quell chances of the killing turning into a bigger communal incident.
Meanwhile, six special police teams have been formed to nab the culprits, a senior police official said.
Shops, hotels and other commercial establishments were closed in nearby Tirupur, a stronghold of the organisation and also major towns, including Udhagamandalam in Nilgiris district, police said.
Police refused to corroborate unconfirmed reports that petrol bombs were hurled in the wee hours at two places of worship in the city.
Some schools on Mettupalayam Road and Avanashi declared holiday today.