Salem: A history-sheeter wanted in several cases was killed in a police encounter near Salem on Thursday, sparking protests by his relatives at the Mohan Kumaramangalam government hospital. They refused to accept his body and demanded a fair, direct inquiry into the incident by the district collector.
Tension gripped the steel town as word got around that 28-year-old Kathirvel, of Mettupattithathanur area near Ayodhyapattinam near Salem, wanted in about eight cases including murder, fell dead to bullets fired by a police inspector in 'self-defence' after the accused allegedly attacked two policemen who encircled him near Kullampatti as he tried to flee from their custody.
Sources said Kariyapatti police were on the lookout for Kathirvel as a suspect in connection with a recent murder of one Ganesh, a snacks trader. Around 9 am this morning police got word that Kathirvel was spotted near Kullampatti in an inebriated condition. A special police team led by inspector Subramaniam and sub-inspector Mari rushed to the spot and encircled him in a bid to nab him.
Angered at being cornered by the police, Kathirvel reportedly threw some deadly weapons at the two cops in which they suffered minor cut injuries. At that point, the inspector in a bid to defend himself reportedly fired at Kathirvel and he accused dropped dead at the spot itself. The police team then sent the body to the Salem GH for post-mortem, even as the two injured cops got admitted to hospital for treatment of their injuries. Hearing about the shoot-out, higher police officials including Salem Zone DIG Senthilkumar and Salem district SP, Deepa Kannikar, rushed to the spot and held an enquiry.
A magisterial enquiry by the Vazhapadi magistrate was ordered and the post-mortem on Kathirvel's body will be done after this inquiry is over.
However, lots of people including the near kin of Kathirvel who flocked to Salem GH, refused to take the body later in the day and asserted the deceased was not such a bad element to warrant a police shoot-out. Questioning the police version that Kathirvel was on the run, his kin maintained that there were already media reports that the accused had been secured on Wednesday night. Moreover, Kathirvel had on Thursday morning on his volition gone to the police station to surrender and he could not have been in the circumstances to attack the policemen that led to the police encounter as claimed by the cops.
Alleging there was a 'conspiracy' in the police encounter, Kathirvel's relatives demanded that the Salem district collector directly enquire into the incident, adding, they will not accept his body until the "truth comes out". Following the tension at the GH, police contingent has been reinforced there, sources added....