The city police have deployed additional reinforcements at Vellayani where an argument over raising flags has snowballed into a tension among RSS-BJP and CPI(M) activists.

The controversy cropped up at the Vellayani Devi Temple which has been celebrating the Kaliyoottu festival. A group of people, believed to be activists of the DYFI, protested the alleged decision of the temple committee to hoist saffron flags in the festival area and tied a few red flags on Friday evening.

According to an official, police personnel were able to prevent activists of other parties, including Congress and certain organisations, from following suit and tying their flags on poles. The tensed atmosphere was defused with the arrival of Additional District Magistrate John V. Samuel, who ordered that status quo be maintained and none of the flags be taken down.

Earlier on the day, a meeting called by Mr. Samuel turned to be a failure with one of the parties deciding against attending it, the police said. Yet another round of discussions will be held under the chairmanship of District Collector S. Venkatesapathy on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Hindu Aikyavedi accused the CPI(M) of joining hands with activists of SDPI and NDF to scuttle the festival. In a statement, BJP district president S. Suresh demanded that the CPI(M) withdraw from alleged efforts to sabotage the event. He accused them of unleashing violence using anti-social elements to disrupt peace at a festival that was attended by people of various faiths.