Four killed in Kerala clashes

May 18th, 2009 - 12:30 am ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, May 17 (IANS) Four people were killed in this Kerala capital Sunday after clashes between groups of two communities forced the police to open fire, an official said.
Confirming the deaths, Inspector General of Police Arun Kumar Sinha told IANS that the clashes at Bheemapally near the international airport here began late Saturday and continued Sunday.

“The police tried their best disperse the two groups. They (police) burst tear gas shells and had to resort to firing,” he said.

He, however, refused say whether the victims died in the clashes or in the police firing.

“Only after medical examination would one know if the death took place because of the firing,” Sinha said.

The violence started when two brothers clashed with traders at Beemapally Saturday evening. Angered by the retaliation of the traders, the duo later returned with close to two dozen of their friends and torched boats and fishing nets and damaged shops in the area.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, who was in New Delhi, appealed to the people to remain calm.

“Adequate compensation would be given to those who have suffered damages and (the goevrnment) will do the needful for those who lost their lives,” Achuthanandan said.

Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, who is also in New Delhi, said the violence had nothing to do with the Lok Sabha election results announced Saturday, adding he would return here at the earliest.

Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy of the Congress Sunday night told reporters here that there was a lapse on the part of the police and a small clash had flared up into a tragedy.

“A judicial inquiry has to be announced into the incident,” said Chandy.

A company of the Central Reserve Police Force has has been deployed in the area and a group of the Rapid Action Force was on its way to the place, officials said.

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