Chennai: A day after the police firing incident that killed six people in Paramakudi in Ramanathapuram District, the situation on Monday still seemed tense but under control with the prohibitory orders under Section 144 still in place.
Ramanathapuram District Collector Arun Roy said, "At present the situation is under control. Following the firing, there were isolated instances of stone pelting etc but by yesterday evening normalcy was restored. We are prepared for anymore acts of violence. We hope nothing happens but we are prepared for it."
There was a meeting in memory of Dalit leader Immanuel Sekaran that turned bloody on Sunday afternoon. When the situation went out of control, the police resorted to lathicharge and tear gas and then opened fire.
G Gunasekaran, who lost his father in the firing, said, "My father had come to distribute invitations for my wedding. He was going to my uncle's house and was crossing the place of gathering when he got caught in the crossfire and was shot."
The police department has come under sharp criticism - so much that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who had initially defended them was forced to order a judicial probe.
"The protestors indulged in largescale violence and torched police vehicles. Police opened fire in self defense to protect public property. The protestors were dirupting law and order...political gains of some persons," Jayalalithaa said.
However, not everyone is blaming the police. Some eye witnesses say that the police was patient and trying to calm the crowd.
"If not for the police the protest would have spread into the whole town and everything would have been burnt and ruined," said an eye witness.
Even as several questions are being raised on the police's proactive decision and timing of detaining John Pandian, which was the actual cause behind the whole incident, for the moment normalcy seems to have returned to this already communally sensitive area.
With Jayalilathaa now announcing the revival of peace committees in each district, the locals are hopeful that communal clashes will soon become a thing of the past.