He was found murdered near Santhanamariamman temple at Ulaipatti at around 8.30 pm, on Tuesday. Angered by the incident, relatives of the victim refused to accept the body until the arrest of the accused. They lodged protests at Soolapuram since 9 pm on Tuesday, sources said.
Earlier, issues concerning entry to Chellandiamman temple at Soolapuram stirred up contradictory feelings between the two groups and the murder was seen as the backdrop of discontent, sources said. Preliminary inquiries revealed that while Chelladurai along with his wife Malarkodi was returning to their house from Chellandiamman temple of Soolappuram village, their opponent group waylaid them and abused and subsequently Chelladurai came under murderous attack with a billhook. He succumbed to head injuries.
It’s learnt that villagers of Soolapuram and Ulaipatti were observing a two-day annual festival that began at Chellandiamman temple in Soolapuram on Tuesday.
Around 150 families of a community and 600 families of other community people and other caste Hindus are residing at Ulaipatti village. However, this year a particular community of Ulaipatti village claimed rights to enter into the temple for worship during the festival.
But, the other section of people refused to budge on the demand for letting them perform rituals in the temple.
Usilampatti Revenue Divisional Officer, Rajkumar on Monday convened peace talks with the groups twice and he denied permission to perform temple festival due to COVID pandemic.
Meanwhile, some of the villagers observed the festival. Hence, the enraged group murdered Chelladurai intentionally to stop the festival, sources said.
The Usilampatti RDO said only 20 persons were permitted to perform rituals as part of the festival on the occasion.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Madurai Range) S. Rajendran, Superintendent of Police Sujit Kumar and the Usilampatti RDO attempted to pacify the crowd.
However, the agitating crowd demanded immediate arrest of the accused, adequate compensation and a government job to the victim’s family member.
If the demands were not met, consent would not be given for conducting post mortem on his body, many from the agitating crowd said.
Based on a complaint lodged by Malarkodi, M. Kallupatti police have filed a case against twelve persons under Sections 147, 148, 294 (b), 341, 342, 302 and 109 of IPC.