Collector defuses tension in Shencottai
Thanks to her efforts, idol procession ends without any major untoward incident
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.
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.
Tirunelveli District Collector Shilpa Prabhakar Satish inspecting the Vinayaka idol procession at Shencottai on Friday.