A Dalit-Muslim dispute over the route of a funeral procession of a woman led to tension in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district with over 30 persons being injured and three vehicles being set on fire, The Hindu has reported.

According to the report, at least two shops and houses of 50 Muslims were damaged in the clash between Dalits and Muslims at a village in the district.

Trouble erupted when the funeral procession an aged Dalit woman Vanniammal, who had died on 24 April, was passing through a street inhabited by Muslims at Bomminaickanpatti village near Periyakulam.

Muslims living in the village objected to the body of the woman being taken through their street, leading to a clash.

Police intervened and helped complete the funeral, However, the village witnessed clashes between the two groups, that escalated on Saturday (5 May).

Trouble broke out when a Muslim man, on his way to a coconut farm, was stopped by the Dalits from going through their area. This led to heated arguments, followed by clash which involved the use of sticks and stones.

Soon, an unruly mob entered the street inhabited by Muslims and pelted stones on their houses and shops. Police said a photo studio and another shop bore the brunt of the attack of the mob, which also barged into the Muslim houses and damaged items like furniture and electronic gadgets.

On its way back, the mob set on fire a car owned by a Muslim family and two motorcycles owned by two non-Muslims ones.

Police said they have cordoned off the village to prevent tension from spreading to other areas. Additional security through the deployment of nearly 200 policemen has been provided. A case has been registered at Jayamangalam police station and further enquiry is on. Some locals are reported to have fled the village.

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