Col­lec­tor de­fuses ten­sion in Shen­cot­tai

Thanks to her ef­forts, idol pro­ces­sion ends with­out any ma­jor un­to­ward in­ci­dent

The Hindu - - TAMIL NADU - P. Sud­hakar

Af­ter ten­sion and anx­i­ety — fu­elled by ru­mours spread on so­cial me­dia — en­gulfed the oth­er­wise calm town of Shen­cot­tai on Fri­day, it was left to Col­lec­tor Shilpa Prab­hakar Satish to defuse the sit­u­a­tion with skill and pa­tience.

The trou­ble started af­ter a clash be­tween a sec­tion of Mus­lims and the Hin­dus dur­ing the pro­ces­sion of Vi­nayaka idols. Though she is head­ing a district for the first time, Ms. Shilpa showed ex­treme ma­tu­rity in deal­ing with the tense and anx­ious mo­ments that en­veloped Shen­cot­tai af­ter the show­down on Thurs­day night.

Reach­ing out

Af­ter ap­peal­ing to the Mus­lim rep­re­sen­ta­tives to co­op­er­ate with her in main­tain­ing peace, she walked up to the elders of the com­mu­nity even as they were stand­ing near the mosque and re­it­er­ated her ap­peal.

On see­ing the Col­lec­tor’s earnest­ness, their ini­tial ve­he­mence dis­si­pated and they soon obliged.

De­spite the swel­ter­ing heat, Ms. Shilpa could be seen walk­ing around since noon to per­son­ally re­view the se­cu­rity ar­range­ments be­fore the pro­ces­sion started. Though there was stone pelt­ing in a cou­ple of places even as the pro­ces­sion was go­ing to­wards Gun­dar River for idol im­mer­sion, she mon­i­tored the sit­u­a­tion till 7 p.m.

More im­por­tantly, the Col­lec­tor’s pres­ence on the spot kept the po­lice­men on ten­ter­hooks and the trou­ble­mak­ers at bay. The po­lice also used mild force when­ever it was re­quired, par­tic­u­larly af­ter in­ci­dents of stone pelt­ing.

As the pro­ces­sion reached the banks of the Gun­dar at dusk, Ms. Shilpa went to the Mus­lim elders stand­ing near the mosque again and thanked them for hav­ing co­op­er­ated with the of­fi­cial ma­chin­ery in main­tain­ing law and or­der.

“When Mr. Kan­nap­pan was the Su­per­in­ten­dent of Po­lice here and then the Deputy In­spec­tor Gen­eral of Po­lice, Tirunelveli Range, he would walk along with the rally. His pres­ence in their midst would ef­fec­tively dis­cour­age them from rais­ing provoca­tive slo­gans. The Col­lec­tor’s ap­proach re­minds us of Mr. Kan­nap­pan’s strat­egy,” said an of­fice-bearer of the Tamil Nadu Thowheedh Ja­maath, Shen­cot­tai branch.

SPE­CIAL AR­RANGE­MENT ■

Tirunelveli District Col­lec­tor Shilpa Prab­hakar Satish in­spect­ing the Vi­nayaka idol pro­ces­sion at Shen­cot­tai on Fri­day.

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