At least 35 houses in Thiruvarangulam near Mettupatti in the district were gutted in a fire after some miscreants allegedly hurled petrol bombs on Sunday night. However, no one was injured in the incident.
According to police, the thatched houses in the village were occupied by Sri Lankan refugees. The land for the refugees, which was allotted during late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's period, has been mired in controversy after a certain section of villagers started claiming it. Police said the residents alleged that after some refugees left for other cities, a certain section of villagers was constantly threatening them.
Recently, a group of villagers had been constantly giving trouble to the refugees and was asking them to vacate the entire area. For several decades the refugees had been staying in that place and doing odd jobs at several places in the district. The families were also sending their children to schools in nearby districts.
Police said the issue had been burning for quite some time and taking advantage of this the miscreants had hurled petrol bombs that gutted the entire locality. A gang of five is believed to have come by an SUV and hurled the bombs on the houses.
The refugees who had gone to sleep after returning from work woke up upon hearing the loud screeching sound of the car. Soon, masked men started hurling cans filled with petrol on the houses and lit them on fire. In the impact, all the property was damaged in the fire.
With smoke billowing around, the divisional fire officials rushed to the spot and doused the fire. Though the fire and rescue personnel brought the fire under control, the houses were completely damaged. The entire senior police brass from Pudukkottai rushed to the spot and started the investigations.
Tahsildar N Govindaraju and other revenue officials visited the spot and pacified the residents and assured to solve the issue at the earliest. (Source: Times of India)