CPI(M) Politburo member Brinda Karat was arrested on Saturday with some All India Democratic Women's Association activists when they were on their way to a village in Madurai district, which was hit by a clash between upper-caste Hindus and Dalits last year.
Along with Karat, AIDWA General Secretary Vasuki, Treasurer Jhansi Rani, State Secretary Thirumalli Rani and six others were arrested by Thirulparankundram police, preventing their visit to Uthaopuram village.
A Dalit had died in police firing in the village last year following a clash over a dispute related to a local temple.
Police gave no reason immediately for the arrest.
Speaking to PTI over phone, Karat said she had not committed any illegal act by visiting the village as she was going there only for a private function.
"My car was blocked in the middle of the road without any reason. I asked them (police) under what order they are detaining us. They said they expect trouble in the village. I told the police that if there is trouble, you should arrest trouble-makers, not me," Karat said.
She said she would complain to higher officials.
The Madras High Court had ordered an inquiry by a retired judge into last year's clash and passed interim orders for paying compensation to Dalits affected in the police action.