With political parties in Tamil Nadu raising the campaign pitch over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, members of a pro-LTTE outfit attacked a convoy of Army vehicles on the Coimbatore bypass road here on Saturday. In the attack by cadres of Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK), fuel tanks and windscreens of three Army vehicles were damaged, and baggage and other belongings of jawans set on fire. Several pieces of ammunition, including rocket propelled grenades, lay scattered on the bypass road at Nilambur, 15km from here, after the attack.
About 200 jawans of the Gorkha and Madras Regiments were returning to the camp at Madukkarai in southern Coimbatore in 80 army trucks and two civilian lorries after taking part in a rifle training programme in Secunderabad. Around 3 pm, PDK cadres stopped four vehicles, claiming that the jawans were carrying weapons to Colombo via Kochi to be used by the Sri Lankan army to fight the LTTE. Shouting slogans against the Army, about 20 PDK cadres pulled out the driver of the civilian lorry and a jawan seated in the cabin, and assaulted them. They went on a rampage for over half an hour, attacking the civilian lorry and three Army trucks. Four men held for attack on Army convoy in Neelambur Chennai: An Army convoy was attacked by the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK) cadres suspecting that the trucks were carrying arms and ammunition to Colombo via Kochi to be used by the Sri Lankan army to fight the LTTE.
A few fuel cans from were pulled out of the Army trucks and set on fire. A civilian lorry driver was injured in the attack. After the other trucks arrived, the Army personnel doused the flames and chased away the PDK cadres. Police reinforcements were brought in and four PDK cadres were arrested. After over one hour, the convoy proceeded to the Madukkarai army camp. “We were not carrying any ammunition. After a firing camp, the jawans were returning to Madukkarai,” Lieutenant Colonel Ajay Sharma said. “Luckily, the jawans did not retaliate or open fire. The situation would have worsened if that happened. Cases of rioting have been booked against the PDK cadres,” IGP (west zone) Pramod Kumar told TOI. Police are searching for the PDK cadres who escaped after attacking the convoy. The jawans claimed that their vehicles were stopped by PDK cadres at Erode and Salem too. They were allowed to leave after the first truck in the convoy was checked.